Proceedings of the 5 Malaysia International Conference

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Proceedings of the 5 Malaysia International Conference
Proceedings of the 5th Malaysia International Conference on
Foreign Languages (MICFL 2015)
Edited by
Ang Lay Hoon, Cécile Gabarre, Serge Gabarre, Miroslava Majtanova &
Hazlina Abdul Halim
Table of Content
Bahasa
Melayu
Sebagai
Pengantarabangsaannya
Bahasa
Antarabangsa
Dan
Upaya
1
My Journey of Bilingualism: Borders Crossing
32
A Comparative Discourse Analysis of Hedges in Opinion-Giving by Arab
EFL and Malay ESL Learners in Whatsapp Focused Group Discussions
41
A Discoursal Approach on Assessment of Persian Literary Translation, A
Case of The Gambler
61
Azuichi, Short Utterance and Responses in Japanese Conversation on
Interview Context
75
Bilingual Development Of Malay And English: The Case Of Plural Marking
85
Code-Switching Among The Arab EFL Undergraduate Students in Terms of
Motivation and Identity
98
Cultural Approach In Teaching Indonesian Language For Foreigners
121
Current Situation of Arabic Language Studies in Jordan Universities
130
Curriculum Design: Teaching New Word of Chinese Fantasy Novel among
Non-Native Learners
140
Enhancing foreign language acquisition among university undergraduate
students through outside the classroom activities
151
Evaluation of Materials Used in Teaching Oral Communication Skills to
Tertiary Students
160
Explicitation Strategy in the Translation of ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ Into English
173
French Language Learning Strategies Among Mobility Students in France
188
Intercultural Education: The Influence of Social Categories in Students’
Group Work Interactions
200
KL Noir Series: Reading The Urban Life Of Malaysian Society (A Sociology
Of Literature Study Of KL Noir Series: KL Noir Red, KL Noir White, KL Noir
216
ii
Blue And KL Noir Yellow)
Language, An Instrument For Telling The Truth Or Deviating From It
225
Literal Translation as Communication Strategy in Non-Native Japanese
Language Learner’s Written Text
232
Malaysian Chinese New Year Dishes Nomenclature
247
Misselection Errors in Malay Writing Among French Students
255
Pronunciation Difficulties of Nonexistent Consonant Sounds in the Arabic
Language Experienced by the Arab ESL Learners
267
Reading Habits and Attitudes Of UMSKAL Undergraduates
277
Remarks On Career Perspectives For BA German Graduates From Universiti
Putra Malaysia (The 2009 & 2010 Graduates)
300
Reorientation of Desire in Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems
311
Semantic Priming Of Bilingual Subjects Arabic/French And Monolingual
French Subject
323
The Effects of Online Glosses on Vocabulary Learning Through Reading
336
The Flouting of Maxims in Cross Cultural Understanding Class
348
The Iban National Corpus: Preliminary Work
360
The National Defence University of Malaysia teachers’ Perspectives of
Learner Autonomy
367
The Native Speaker Programme in Malaysia: Multiple Perspectives on the
Programme
380
The Use of Translation as a Learning Method for the German Language
Students In University Putra Malaysia
392
They’re OK. It’s Us that Scares Us: A Critical Analysis of Discourse of
Resistance in Iran
398
Titles in Astrophysics: Scientific American Magazine versus specialized
journals
416
iii
Transliteration of Penang Street Food
430
Truth versus Deviation: A Discourse Analysis of Religious Language in
Malaysia
439
Using Language Learners’ Learning Style Preferences to Create Teaching and
Learning Materials for Kadazandusun Language
447
Analisis Kesalahan Penggunaan Kata Sendi Nama “ni” dan “de” Bahasa
Jepun Dalam Kalangan Pelajar Sekolah Menengah
462
Analisis Kesilapan Pengurangan dalam Struktur Ayat Bahasa Cina di
Kalangan Murid Tahun 3
Analisis Kesilapan Urutan Kata Dalam Ayat Dwikata Kerja dan Dwiobjek
Bahasa Cina Oleh Pelajar Melayu IPTA
Analisis Kontrastif Penolakan dalam Bahasa Melayu dan Sepanyol
Analisis Perubahan Bunyi Vokal Schwa Dalam Kata Pinjaman Bahasa
Inggeris dalam Bahasa Arab
Bahasa Tabu dalam Wacana Nabawi dan Penghayatannya dalam Masyarakat
Melayu Masa Kini
Cabaran Pengajaran Sistem Tulisan Hiragana & Katakana kepada Pelajar
Bahasa Ketiga/Asing DI UiTM
472
480
490
503
508
519
Ciri-Ciri Struktur Penulisan Surat Perang Pada Zaman Al-Khulafa’ AlRashidin
532
Elemen Psikologi dan Tarbiyyah Dalam Gaya Bahasa Pertanyaan Al-Qur’an
Al-Karim: Analisis Terhadap Ayat Tumbuh-Tumbuhan
553
Fenomena percampuran Kod dalam Iklan Komersial Kontemporari Berbahasa
Sepanyol
565
Humor Dalam Sesi Lawatan Pemanduan Pelancongan Bahasa Jepun
578
iv
Ideologi dalam Penterjemahan Teks Politik
595
Implikatur Ayat Tanya Dalam Surah Al-Naml : Analisis Pragmalinguistik
Ayat Dan Konteks
606
Kata Ganti Nama dalam Terjemahan al-Quran al-Karim: Tinjauan terhadap
keseragaman terjemahan
619
Kepelbagaian Trend Pelajar Mengaplikasi Penggunaan Teknologi dalam
Pembelajaran Bahasa Asing
630
Kesan Kemahiran Regulasi dalam Pembelajaran Teks Cina
639
Koheren dan Kohesi Wacana Naratif Nabi Adam dan Ashab Al-A`Raf Dalam
Surah Al-A`Raf
647
Pengaruh Konteks Situasi Terhadap Variasi Lafaz Munada dalam Al-Quran
665
Penggunaan Kata Nama Infinitif dalam Bahasa Arab dan Tahap Penguasaan
Pelajar
686
Penggunaan Kata Pinjaman Arab dalam Puisi Melayu
694
Penguasaan Ism Al-Fa’il Daripada Kata Kerja Jenis Ajwaf Dalam Kalangan
Pelajar Pra-U
705
Persepsi Pelajar Terhadap Cerita Rakyat Melayu
719
Plot Penceritaan Dalam Shoujo Manga
730
Salasilah Keturunan Melayu/Jawi dalam Manuskrip Arab 1909
739
Tekanan Suara Ke Atas Suku Kata Perkataan Arab Dalam Kalangan Pelajar
754
Terjemahan Komunikatif Unsur Budaya dalam Sajak Bahasa Melayu ke
dalam Bahasa Perancis
769
v
Bahasa Melayu Sebagai Bahasa Antarabangsa Dan Upaya
Pengantarabangsaannya
Datuk Dr. Awang Sariyan,
Ketua Pengarah
Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Malaysia
Biodata : Datuk Dr. Awang Sariyan, sejak awal 2012 ialah Ketua Pengarah Dewan Bahasa
dan Pustaka Malaysia, sebelumnya Profesor Bahasa dan Penyandang Pertama Kursi
Pengajian Melayu Kerajaan Malaysia di China yang berpangkalan di Universiti Pengajian
Asing Beijing (Beijing Foreign Studies University), sejak awal tahun 2008. Sebelum itu
beliau merupakan Pengarah Jabatan Bahasa, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Profesor Bahasa
Fakulti Bahasa Moden dan Komunikasi, Universiti Putra Malaysia dan Profesor Bahasa
Akademi Pengajian Melayu,Universiti Malaya. Beliau pernah dua kali menjadi Profesor
Tamu di Pusat Pengajian Asia Tenggara, Universiti Frankfurt, Jerman dan dua kali sebagai
Profesor Tamu Program Linguisitik Pascasarjana, Universiti Sumatera Utara, Indonesia,
Perunding Seberang Laut Kementerian Pendidikan Singapura dalam program latihan guru
bahasa Melayu dan penyusunan bahan ajar bahasa Melayu untuk sekolah rendah
dan sekolah menengah sejak tahun1992. Hasil tulisannya meliputi lebih 50 buah buku
ilmiah, buku umum, buku teks, kamus dan buku kumpulan puisi, lebih seribu makalah
ilmiah dan makalah umum, serta lebih 200 syarahan dan kertas kerja di dalam dan di luar
negara (termasuk Australia, Belanda, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Jerman, Cambodia,
Korea Selatan, Perancis, Republik Rakyat China, Rusia, Sri Lanka, Thailand). Beliau giat
dalam gerakan perancangan dan perjuangan bahasa, khususnya melalui Dewan Bahasa dan
Pustaka), Persatuan Linguistik Malaysia sebagai Setiausaha Kehormat (1984-88) dan
Presiden (2000-2008), Kumpulan Prihatin dan di peringkat serantau dan antarabangsa
melalui Majlis Bahasa Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia (MABBIM), Majlis Sastera
Asia Tenggara (MASTERA) dan Majlis Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu (MABM).
1.0
Pendahuluan
Perihal taraf, kedudukan dan peranan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa dunia atau
bahasa antarabangsa memang telah menjadi fakta dalam sejarah perkembangan dan
kebangkitan tamadun Melayu, sejak zaman Sriwijaya pada abad ke-7 Masihi dan
memuncak dalam zaman Kesultanan Melayu, dalam tempoh beberapa ratus tahun. Namun
demikian, dengan kesan penjajahan yang memadamkan sebahagian kegemilangan bahasa
Melayu, upaya menggemilangkan semula bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa dunia
memerlukan perancangan yang rapi dan berkesan, meskipun memerlukan tempoh yang
panjang dan beransur-ansur. Makalah ini memerikan situasi semasa perkembangan bahasa
Melayu yang mempunyai potensi besar sebagai bahasa dunia, walaupun belum tampak
dominan dalam beberapa ranah, seperti ekonomi dan diplomasi pada peringkat
antarabangsa. Perkembangan bahasa Melayu yang merentas buana secara langsung
1
berkaitan dengan bidang pendidikan bahasa, khususnya strategi pengajaran bahasa Melayu
kepada penutur asing.
Secara nyata, kedudukan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa antarabangsa benar-benar
menyerlah dalam zaman bahasa Melayu klasik pada sekitar abad ke-15 dan beberapa abad
berikutnya. Pada masa ini bahasa Melayu belum sampai ke tahap bahasa antarabangsa yang
dominan sebagaimana halnya dengan bahasa Inggeris yang telah menjadi bahasa ibunda
atau bahasa pertama lebih 45% penduduk 10 buah negara di dunia seperti United Kingdom,
Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, Amerika Syarikat, Kanada
dan Guyana (Fishman et al., 1977), menjadi bahasa rasmi atau bahasa kedua di Botswana,
Cameroon, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, India, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawai, Malta, Mauritius,
Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Filipina, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Singapura, Afrika Selatan,
Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Uganda, Saomoa Barat dan Zambia (Richards, 1991). Dengan
kedudukannya sebagai bahasa dunia yang dominan dan kini dipercayai antara bahasa dunia
yang berperanan besar dalam proses globalisasi, perbincangan tentang pengajaran bahasa
Inggeris kepada penutur asing menjadi tema yang mendapat perhatian besar sehingga
perbincangan tentang pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing mungkin dianggap
oleh sesetengah orang sebagai kurang relevan.
Namun bahasa Melayu mempunyai kedudukannya sendiri dalam perkembangan
bahasa-bahasa utama dunia sehingga memang ada keperluan pengajarannya kepada
penutur asing meskipun tidak seluas keperluan pengajaran bahasa Inggeris. Fakta mutakhir
yang cukup memberangsangkan ialah pernyataan tentang perkembangan dan potensi
bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa dunia yang dominan, antaranya seperti pernyataan David
Graddol, Pengarah The English Company (UK) Ltd dalam jurnal The Future of Language
(27 Februari 2004) bahawa bahasa Melayu merupakan salah satu bahasa yang amat pesat
berkembang. Atas dasar adanya keperluan bahasa Melayu diajarkan kepada dan dipelajari
oleh penutur asing itu, perlu ada perencanaan yang rapi untuk memenuhi keperluan
tersebut.
2.0
Upaya Pengantarabangsaan Bahasa Melayu
Istilah pengantarabangsaan yang saya gunakan bagi bahasa Melayu dalam kertas
kerja ini ada kalanya mengundang persoalan: Mengapakah bahasa Melayu perlu
diantarabangsakan, seolah-olah bahasa tersebut belum bertaraf antarabangsa? James T.
Collins (1995) dalam kritiknya terhadap pertanyaan “Wajarkah bahasa Melayu
diantarabangsakan” yang diajukan oleh seorang wartawan akhbar setempat kepadanya
menegaskan bahawa bahasa Melayu tidak perlu diantarabangsakan kerana bahasa Melayu
memang sudah bertaraf antarabangsa. Penegasan beliau itu jika dibaca sekali lalu seakanakan bercanggah dengan semangat yang tersirat di balik gagasan pengantarabangsaan
bahasa Melayu. Bahasa Melayu memang telah mencapai taraf antarabangsa sejak lebih
seribu tiga ratus tahun lalu (Collins 1995), dengan memperhitungkan Kerajaan Sriwijaya
sebagai titik tolak pengantarabangsaan bahasa Melayu. Pada zaman itu bahasa Melayu
telah berinteraksi dengan bahasa Sanskrit yang mewakili kebudayaan India
Oleh itu semangat pengantarabangsaan bahasa Melayu yang kita bincangkan kini
sebenarnya merupakan kesinambungan suatu sejarah gemilang bahasa Melayu yang telah
terbina. Bukan dengan seminar ini kita baru mula bergerak mengantarabangsakan bahasa
2
Melayu. Upaya kita kini sebenarnya lebih merupakan salah satu upaya meningkatkan
“taraf antarabangsa” yang telah dicapai oleh bahasa Melayu dahulu., terutama dalam
rangka kesesuaiannya dengan perkembangan zaman. Hal ini selaras dengan kenyataan
bahawa
keantarabangsaan bahasa Melayu kini jika dibandingkan dengan
keantarabangsaannya pada zaman gemilang tamadun Melayu sebelum datangnya penjajah
masih jauh daripada yang kita dambakan. Meskipun bahasa Melayu tersebar dan dipelajari
di mana-mana bahagian di dunia ini, dan dengan demikian melayakkannya bertaraf
antarabangsa, namun peranannya sebagai wahana kehidupan moden di kalangan
masyarakat antarabangsa masih begitu samar. Bahasa Melayu dalam era ini belum
dianggap sebagai bahasa perdagangan, bahasa ekonomi, bahasa ilmu dan bahasa teknologi
di peringkat antarabangsa, bukan kerana bahasa Melayu tidak mampu tetapi disebabkan
oleh pelbagai faktor, termasuklah kekangan sistem pendidikan negara yang tampaknya
membataskan ruang kepada perkembangan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa ilmu.
Apabila Islam datang ke alam Melayu pada sekitar abad ke-12 atau ke-13 (malah
sumber Aceh menyatakan bahawa Islam telah tiba di alam Melayu pada abad ke-8 lagi),
bahasa Melayu mengalami interaksi dengan satu lagi bahasa antarabangsa, iaitu bahasa
Arab dan di sisi itu juga bahasa Parsi. Kegiatan penerjemahan teks daripada bahasa Arab
kepada bahasa Melayu telah berlangsung, seperti usaha ulama Melayu yang
menerjemahkan Aqaid al-Nasafi pada tahun 1590 (Al-Attas,1988). Dengan demikian,
bahasa Melayu telah diantarabangsakan daripada sudut kandungan bahasa itu sendiri dan
pada waktu yang sama daripada sudut peranannya juga, iaitu sebagai bahasa yang
digunakan dalam ranah hubungan antarabangsa, khususnya sebagai bahasa diplomasi.
Amatlah menarik halnya bahawa bahasa Melayu menjadi bahasa penyebaran Islam yang
ampuh, sehingga ulama dari luar alam Melayu, seperti Nuruddin al-Raniri yang berasal dari
Gujerat berkarya dan mendakwahkan Islam dengan menggunakan bahasa Melayu – bukti
bahawa ilmu lebih berkesan disampaikan dalam bahasa umat itu sendiri, selaras dengan
sunatullah atau peraturan Tuhan.
Sumbangan Islam sebagai agama sejagat telah sesungguhnya membantu menjadikan
bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa antarabangsa, melalui penyerapan istilah-istilah dasar yang
berkaitan dengan akidah dan ibadah – istilah sejagat yang digunakan oleh umat Islam lain
di dunia. Demikian juga, dengan memperhitungkan bahawa bahasa Melayu merupakan
bahasa kedua terbesar sebagai bahasa Islam, sesudah bahasa Arab, tidak syak lagi bahawa
bahasa Melayu telah mencapai darjat bahasa antarabangsa dalam dunia Islam.
Dalam ranah diplomasi, peranan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa antarabangsa
terlihat, misalnya pada surat Sultan Ternate, iaitu Sultan Abu Hayat kepada Raja Sepanyol
pada tahun 1521 dan 1522 (Collins, 1998:18 dan 23), surat Sultan Aceh kepada kapitan
Inggeris, James Lancester (1601), surat Sultan Alauddin Shah Aceh kepada Harry
Middleton (1602) dan surat Sultan Aceh kepada raja Inggeris, King James (1612),
kesemuanya dalam bahasa Melayu bertulisan Jawi (Nik Safiah Karim et al., 1996) menjadi
bukti keantarabangsaan bahasa Melayu. Malahan apabila UNESCO mengiktiraf surat-surat
Sultan Kedah (dalam bahasa Melayu bertulisan Jawi) pada abad ke-19 kepada kerajaan
Inggeris sebagai salah satu warisan dunia, jelas bahawa taraf keantarabangsaan bahasa
Melayu dalam bidang diplomasi pada suatu waktu dahulu telah tercapai.
Dalam hal yang secara langsung berkaitan dengan pendidikan bahasa Melayu,
perhatian orang asing terhadap bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa antarabangsa memang telah
wujud seawal abad ke-7 apabila I Cing, agamawan Buddha yang datang dari China
mempelajari bahasa Melayu kuno untuk tujuan pengajian agama Buddha yang pada zaman
3
itu berwahankan bahasa Melayu kuno. Secara lebih ketara dan meluas, pegawai Kerajaan
China daripada Dinasti Ming yang menjalin hubungan diplomatik dengan Kerajaan Melayu
Melaka dari abad ke-15 hingga abad ke-16 telah menyusun daftar kata yang
menggambarkan kosa kata bahasa Melayu yang perlu difahami oleh para diplomat China
dalam urusan mereka di alam Melayu. Daftar kata yang mengandung kira-kira 500 kata
masukan itu telah mula disusun jauh lebih awal daripada daftar kata Pigafeta (1522) kerana
kosa kata yang terakam meliputi kosa kata sejak terjalinnya hubungan Kerajaan Cina
dengan Kerajaan Melaka. Judul kamus itu dalam bahasa Cina ialah Man La Jia Guo Yi Yu
atau Senarai Perkataan Negeri Melaka (Liang Li Ji, 1996).
Kata-kata yang terhimpun di dalamnya dipercayai meliputi kosa kata dari zaman
awal bermulanya hubungan Dinasti Ming dengan Kerajaan Melaka, iaitu pada tahun 1403
hingga tahun jatuhnya Melaka di tangan Portugis pada tahun 1511. Kamus itu terdiri
daripada 482 entri kosa kata Cina yang dianggap penting dan dikategorikan kepada 17
bidang, iaitu astronomi, geografi, musim dan masa, tumbuh-tumbuhan, unggas dan haiwan,
rumah dan istana, peri kelakuan, tubuh badan, barang emas dan permata, kemasyarakatan
dan sejarah, warna, hitungan, dan kata umum. Setiap entri diberi padanan bahasa
Melayunya dengan tulisan Cina. Kamus itu disusun untuk keperluan Kerajaan Cina dalam
Dinasti Ming dalam menjalin hubungan dengan Melaka dan hingga akhir abad ke-16
kamus itu masih menjadi rujukan, termasuk dalam penyusunan buku sejarah Cina.
Demikianlah, erat dan akrabnya hubungan antara dua tamadun turut meninggalkan dampak
yang besar dan penting kepada bahasa juga, sebagaimana yang terbukti dengan meluasnya
peranan bahasa Melayu.
Jika dalam zaman Sriwijaya memang telah ada perhatian pendeta Buddha China
dalam mempelajari bahasa Melayu kuno, maka dalam dalam zaman Kesultanan Melayu
bahasa Melayu bukan sahaja dipelajari oleh para pendeta agama, malahan menjadi bahasa
yang dipelajari dan digunakan untuk urusan perdagangan dan kehidupan oleh orang China
daripada golongan lain, khususnya pedagang. Yang lebih penting daripada itu ialah adanya
“perhatian diraja” pada pihak Dinasti Ming apabila menubuhkan Jawatankuasa Jurubahasa
(Da Tong Shi) untuk memenuhi kepentingan dan keperluan dalam hubungan luar. Tong Shi
atau jurubahasa yang berkhidmat dalam 18 jawatankuasa kecil (Xiao Tong Shi) berjumlah
60 orang, dan dua orang daripadanya khusus untuk bahasa Melayu, iaitu seorang untuk
Melaka dan seorang untuk Sumatera.
Untuk melatih para jurubahasa, pada tahun 1405 Maharaja Ming Cheng Zhu
menubuhkan akademi bahasa yang dikenal sebagai Si Yi Guan (Balai Bahasa Negeri-negeri
Asing) di ibu negara Ying Tian Fu (kini Nanjing). Terdapat lapan jabatan di akademi
bahasa asing itu. Bahasa Melayu dimasukkan di bawah Hui Hui Guan (Jabatan Islam yang
meliputi Parsi, Arab, Melaka, Jawa dan lain-lain). Akademi bahasa asing itu bertahan
melebihi 400 tahun, dan dilanjutkan dalam Dinasti Qing yang menggantikan Dinasti Ming
walaupun namanya diubah pada 1748 menjadi Hui Tong Si Yi Guan. Peranan akademi itu
hanya terhenti sesudah Perang Candu pada tahun 1840, sesudah Dinasti Qing menghadapi
ketidakstabilan politik (Liang Liji, 1996: 82-90).
Dalam hubungannya dengan tamadun Barat pula, usaha Antonio Pigafetta
mengumpulkan kosa kata bahasa Melayu dalam daftara kata bahasa Itali – bahasa Melayu
pada tahun 1522 menandai wujudnya keperluan orang Barat mempelajari bahasa Melayu
untuk keperluan hubungan antarabangsa. Daftar kata itu kemudian diterbitkan juga dalam
edisi Latin – Melayu dan Perancis – Melayu (Collins, 1998: 16-17). Dalam persuratan
sejarah bahasa Melayu, telah terakam taraf keantarabangsaan bahasa Melayu, sebagaimana
4
yng dirumuskan oleh Francois Valentijn tentang kedudukan bahasa Melayu pada abad ke16:
“Bahasa mereka, bahasa Melayu, bukan sahaja dituturkan di daerah pinggir laut, tetapi
juga digunakan di seluruh Kepulauan Melayu dan di segala negeri Timur, sebagai
suatu bahasa yang difahami di mana-mana sahaja oleh setiap orang, tidak ubah seperti
bahasa Perancis atau latin di Eropah, atau sebagai bahasa Lingua Franca di Itali dan di
Levant. Sungguh luas tersebarnya bahasa Melayu itu sehingga kalau kita
memahaminya tidaklah mungkin kita kehilangan jejak, kerana bahasa itu bukan sahaja
difahami di Parsi bahkan lebih jauh dari negeri itu, dan di sebelah timurnya sehingga
Kepulauan Filipina.”
(Nik Safiah Karim et al.
2003: 14)
Gabenor Portugis di Moluku (1636-1539), Antonio Galvao menyamatarafkan kedudukan
dan peranan bahasa Melayu pada abad ke-16 dengan bahasa Latin di Eropah disebabkan
peranan pentingnya sebagai bahasa ilmu, bahasa perdagangan, bahasa diplomasi, bahasa
keagamaan dan juga sebagai bahasa rasmi istana yang merupakan institusi utama
pemerintahan negara (Collins, 1998: 23 dan 25).
Perhatian orang Barat terhadap bahasa Melayu daripada sudut korpus bahasa Melayu
pun cukup besar, sehingga seawal abad ke-17 telah terhasil sejumlah buku tatabahasa dan
kamus seperti karya F. de Houtman (1603), Albert Ruyl (1611), Casper Wittens dan
Sebastian Danckaerts (1623), David Haex (1631) dan lain-lain.
Interaksi bahasa Melayu dengan bahasa-bahasa Barat kemudian, terutama bahasa
Inggeris, telah memungkinkan bahasa Melayu menambah kekayaannya yang sedia ada,
baik dalam bidang fonologi, kosa kata, sintaksis mahupun wacana. Bahasa Melayu telah
mencapai tahap saling terjemah (inter-translatibality) yang tinggi dengan bahasa-bahasa
moden yang lain.
Potensi besar bahasa Melayu yang menimbulkan keperluan perencanaan pengajaran
bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing, sebagai salah satu usaha pengantarabangsaan bahasa
dan persuratan Melayu pada zaman ini ialah wujudnya pusat-pusat pengajian di seluruh
dunia yang mengajarkan bahasa Melayu (dengan pengertian bahasa Indonesia juga).
Bahasa Melayu diajarkan dan diteliti di puluhan universiti di Eropah, di Australia, di New
Zealand, dan di Amerika Utara, di samping diajarkan dan diteliti di rantau Asia Tenggara,
Asia Timur, dan Asia Utara.
Di Eropah Barat, kajian tentang bahasa dan sastera Melayu-Indonesia telah mencapai
tahap yang mapan, meskipun harapan banyak bergantung pada tokoh-tokoh tertentu.
Kegiatan pengajaran-pemelajaran dan penelitian bahasa, sastera dan budaya Melayu dapat
dikatakan meriah di benua tersebut, terutama di pusat-pusat tradisional pengajian Melayu
seperti Leiden, London, dan Paris. Selain itu, terdapat juga pengajian Melayu di Itali. Di
Jerman pula, sebagai kesan munculnya minat masyarakatnya terhadap Indonesia, lima buah
universiti di negara tersebut mengajarkan bahasa Melayu-Indonesia. Kelima-limanya itu
ialah Universiti Hamburg, Universiti Cologne, Universiti Bonn, Universiti Frankfurt, dan
Universiti Passau. Di sisi itu, ada juga perhatian kepada Dunia Melayu, termasuk bahasa
Melayu di Universiti Bochum, di Universiti Kassel, dan di Universiti Giesen. Prof.
Emeritus Dr. Abdullah Hassan (2004) dan pemakalah (2006 dan 2007) pernah diundang
5
sebagai Profesor Tamu oleh tokoh linguistik terkenal di Universiti Frankurt, Prof Dr. Bernd
Nothofer untuk menyampaikan kuliah intensif tentang linguistik Melayu kepada pelajar
Magister (Sarjana) universiti tersebut. Di bahagian lain benua Eropah, khususnya di
Portugal dan di Skandinavia, tampak juga adanya minat terhadap bahasa Melayu meskipun
tidak serancak di negara-negara yang disebut terdahulu.
Di Perancis, telah mula berkembang pengajaran bahasa dan sastera Melayu di
Universiti La Rochelle pada tahun 2000. Rombongan ahli bahasa dari Malaysia yang terdiri
daripada Prof. Emeritus Dr. Asmah Hj. Omar, Prof. Dr. Awang Sariyan dan Puan Atiah
Salleh dihantar oleh Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) untuk memberikan kuliah intensif
kepada pelajar universiti tersebut. Sebagai hasil kerjasama yang terjalin dengan Dewan
Bahasa dan Pustaka melalui Majlis Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu (MABM), pelajar dari
universiti itu telah dihantar ke DBP untuk program latihan industri. Ada juga ura-ura
pembukaan program pengajian Melayu di Institut Asia dan Afrika Tiblisi, Georgia (surat
Prof. Dr. Guram Chikovani, Rektor TIAA kepada pemakalah, bertarikh 25 Oktober 2005),
tetapi dengan malapnya kegiatan MABM sesudah kali akhir bersidang pada tahun 2004,
tidak ada susulan yang dilakukan kepada hasrat tersebut.
Di Amerika Syarikat, universiti yang mula-mula mengadakan pengajaran dan
penelitian bahasa Melayu-Indonesia ialah Universiti Yale dan Universiti Cornell. Sesudah
itu pengajian bahasa Melayu-Indonesia dipergiat melalui Program Musim Panas yang
kemudian merangkumkan pelibatan Universiti Hawaii dan Universiti California-Berkeley.
Kini bahasa Melayu diajarkan juga di Universiti Wisconsin, Universiti Ohio, Universiti
Michigan, Universiti Northern Illinois, dan Universiti Arizona (Ismail Hussein, 1995).
Universiti Northern Illinois menjadi lebih giat kini sesudah Prof. Dr. James T. Collins,
pakar dialektologi Melayu dilantik menjadi Pengarah Pusat Pengajian Asia Tenggaranya
sejak tahun 2008, dengan projek perkamusan Melayu dalam talian, pendanaan pelajar dari
Asia Tenggara, termasuk dari Malaysia dan Indonesia dan program penyelidikannya di
alam Melayu.
Di Australia, pengajaran dan penelitian bahasa Melayu terdapat di Universiti
Sydney, di Universiti Melbourne, di Universiti Kebangsaan Australia, di Universiti La
Trobe, dan di Universiti Monash. Di samping itu, bahasa Melayu diajarkan di Curtin
University of Technology di Perth, di Universiti Australia Selatan, di Kampus Bendigo
Universiti La Trobe, di Universiti Griffith, di Universiti James Cook, di Universiti Deakin,
di Universiti Flinders, di Universiti Queensland Selatan, di Universiti Murdoch, di
Universiti Tasmania, di Universiti Kolej Wilayah Utara, dan di Sekolah Bahasa-bahasa
Angkatan Udara Diraja. Daripada maklumat yang diperoleh oleh pemakalah daripada
sumber jabatan pendidikan, ketika melaksanakan pengembangan bahasa Melayu di
Australia, di Victoria sahaja, terdapat sejumlah 120,000 orang pelajar bahasa Melayu
(khususnya variasi Indonesia) dari peringkat sekolah rendah hingga universiti (Awang
Sariyan, 2004). Besarnya minat masyarakat Australia terhadap bahasa dan budaya Melayu
walau bagaimanapun tidak pula menempiaskan minat yang sama besarnya kepada New
Zealand sebagai satu lagi jiran Barat bagi Asia, meskipun Kerajaan Malaysia menubuhkan
Kursi Pengajian Melayu di Universiti Victoria, Wellington. Namun demikian bahasa
Melayu ada diajarkan di Universiti Auckland dan di Universiti Victoria, di samping di
Kolej Rongitoto.
Sebagai hasil promosi bahasa Melayu oleh Majlis Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu
(MABM) melalui Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, di Australia, khususnya di Melbourne,
Universiti Deakin telah memberikan kepercayaan kepada Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka dan
6
Universiti Putra Malaysia mengendalikan kursus bahasa Melayu kepada pelajar-pelajarnya
yang didatangkan ke Malaysia dalam tempoh sebulan setengah bermula pada penghujung
tahun 2004. Kumpulan kedua pelajar Universiti Deakin yang dihantar ke Universiti Putra
Malaysia mula mengikuti kursus pada 19 Disember 2005 untuk tempoh sebulan setengah
juga.
Di negara-negara Asia Timur, bahasa Melayu mendapat tempat yang cukup
membanggakan. Di Jepun, pada akhir tahun 1980-an ada lima buah institusi pendidikan
tinggi yang mempunyai jurusan bahasa Indonesia, iaitu Universiti Pengajian Asing Osaka,
Universiti Pengajian Asing Tokyo, Universiti Tenri, Universiti Kyoto Sangyu, dan
Universiti Setsunan. Selain itu, ada sebelas universiti yang ikut mengajarkan bahasa
Melayu walaupun tidak mempunyai jabatan khas bahasa Melayu, iaitu Universiti Kyoto,
Universiti Takushoku, Universiti Nohon, Universiti Sophia, Universiti Ajia, Universiti
Daitobunka, Universiti Senshu, Universiti Tokto, Universiti Tokyo Nogyo, Universiti
Waseda, dan Universiti Pengajian Asing Kota Kobe. Pertemuan dengan Dr. Kyoko Funada
dari Universiti Pengajian Antarabangsa Kanda di Tokyo pada 6 Julai 2012 di Tokyo
menambah maklumat sebuah universiti lain yang turut mengajarkan bahasa Indonesia.
Di Republik Rakyat China, pengajian bahasa Melayu mencapai kemantapan di
Universiti Peking, di Universiti Pengajian Asing Beijing dan di Universiti Komunikasi
China (ketiga-tiganya di kota Beijing), di Universiti Pengajian Asing Guangdong (di
Guangzhou), sementara Universiti Bangsa-bangsa Guangxi di kota Nanning telah
memulakan program bahasa Melayu pada tahun 2008. Pemakalah, bersama-sama dengan
Prof. Wu Zong Yu, Pengarah Pusat Pengajian Melayu China, berpeluang memberikan
kuliah pengukuhan di Universiti Bangsa-bangsa Guangxi pada akhir tahun 2008 dan di
Universiti Pengajian Asing Guangdong dalam bulan April 2009. Dalam perkembangan
yang mutakhir, Universiti Bangsa-bangsa di kota Kunming, Provinsi Yunnan memulakan
program bahasa Melayu pada bulan September tahun 2010 dan perancangan telah
dimulakan sejak awal tahun 2009, dengan kerjasama Universiti Malaya, Universiti
Pengajian Asing Beijing dan Konsul Jeneral Malaysia di Kunming..
Pengiktirafan Kerajaan Malaysia kepada upaya pemerintah Republik Rakyat
China dalam memajukan dan mengembangkan bahasa Melayu di tanah besar itu
diterjemahkan dalam usaha penubuhan Kursi Pengajian Melayu ada tahun 2007 di
Universiti Pengajian Asing Beijing, iaitu Kursi Pengajian Melayu yang ketiga sesudah
Kursi di Universiti Leiden, Belanda dan di Universiti Victora, New Zealand. Pada awal
tahun 2008, Kursi itu telah diisi, dengan pemakalah sendiri sebagai penyandang pertama,
dan tumpuan diberikan kepada peluasan dan peningkatan program ilmiah pada peringkat
sarjana muda dan pascasiswazah, penyelidikan, penerbitan, seminar dan pengembangan
program bahasa Melayu di universiti-universiti lain di luar Beijing.
Demikian pula, di Korea Selatan bahasa Melayu diajarkan di Universiti Pengajian
Asing Hankuk di Seoul, di Universiti Woosong dan di Universiti Pengajian Asing Busan di
kota Busan. Dari Universiti Pengajian Asing Busan inilah munculnya sarjana pengagum
dan peneliti sejarah tulisan Jawi, iaitu Prof. Dr. Kang Kyoung Seock. Kerajaan Malaysia
telah menubuhkan Kursi Pengajian Melayu di Universiti Pengajian Asing Hankuk, Seoul
dengan Prof. Dr. Zaharani Ahmad dilantik sebagai penyandang pertamanya.
Di Asia Utara pula, iaitu di Rusia, pengajaran dan pengajian bahasa satu sastera
Melayu sudah sekian lama bertapak di Moskow dan di Leningrad. Persatuan Nusantara
yang berpusat di Moskow aktif menganjurkan seminar dan pertemuan ilmiah lain yang
berkaitan dengan pengajian Melayu - Indonesia.
7
Dengan agak meluasnya perhatian terhadap bahasa Melayu-Indonesia di pusat-pusat
pengajian sedunia, maka memang amat relevan dibincangkan isu-isu yang berkaitan
dengan pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing. Meskipun matlamatnya masih
lebih tertumpu pada minat ilmiah dan kebudayaan, dengan sedikit-sedikit pada peluang
pekerjaan, perlu ada perencanaan yang rapi untuk memungkinkan pengajaran bahasa
Melayu kepada penutur asing itu mencapai kesan yang sebaik-baiknya.
DBP pula dalam rangka mengisi agenda pengantarabangsaan bahasa Melayu telah
mengambil langkah menubuhkan Majlis Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu (MABM) dengan
kelulusan Jemaah Menteri pada tahun 1997 dan memulakan operasinya dalam tahun 2000.
Antara bidang yang ditangani termasuklah pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur
asing. Di samping mengutus tenaga pengajar (seperti ke Republik Rakyat Cina, Korea,
Eropah, Thailand, Kemboja dan Sri Lanka), usaha menyusun buku dan modul pengajaran
bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing telah dimulakan. Pada bulan Ogos dan September
2005, telah diadakan Kursus Bahasa Melayu untuk Munsyi Antarabangsa dengan pelibatan
penatar bahasa Melayu dari Thailand, Kampuchea dan Sri Lanka, iaitu penatar yang
sebelumnya telah menerima kurus bahasa Melayu di negara masing-masing atas usaha
DBP. Program Minggu Bahasa dan Persuratan Melayu untuk meneguhkan aspek pedagogi
bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing di samping mempromosikan karya-karya persuratan
Melayu kepada institusi-insitusi ilmiah sedunia telah digerakkan, misalnya pada tahun
2002 di Belanda, Jerman dan Perancis dan pada tahun 2004 di Melbourne, Australia dan di
Korea Selatan. Kerjasama penyelidikan bahasa dan persuratan telah dimulakan, seperti
kajian etimologi dan keantarabangsaan bahasa Melayu serta penerbitan Jurnal Melayu
(lihat Bahagian Strategi, perkara 4 tentang strategi menjadikan bahasa Melayu sebagai
bahasa dunia melalui badan penyelaras).
3.0
Pertimbangan Strategi
Kisah kegemilangan bahasa Melayu pada zaman silam, termasuk tentang
kedudukannya yang telah membuana di jagat raya ini dapat menjadi pelipur lara bagi
pejuang bahasa Melayu yang pedih hatinya apabila melihat bahasa Melayu dihina dalam
siri peminggiran dan penurunan martabatnya di negara berbahasa Melayu sendiri. Namun,
dengan sekadar mengagumi sejarah gemilang bahasa Melayu pada zaman silam, kita tidak
mungkin dapat mengangkat martabatnya, melainkan dengan secara serius dan
bertanggungjawab merencanakan hala tuju bahasa Melayu dalam zaman yang penuh
dengan tantangan ini.
Dalam kertas kerja ini, pemakalah mengemukakan beberapa strategi yang praktis
untuk memenuhi pengantarabangsaan dan keantarabangsaan bahasa Melayu, jika kita
memang serius dalam agenda tersebut. Antara strategi tersebut termasuklah:
1. Strategi yang Berkaitan dengan Pembentukan Bahasa Melayu
Supranasional
Keampuhan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa persatuan, paling tidak dalam tiga ranah
penting kehidupan dan tamadun bangsa Melayu pada zaman silam, iaitu dalam
perdagangan, pentadbiran (termasuk diplomasi), dan dalam bidang persuratan (sebagai
8
bahasa ilmu, kesusasteraan, ketatanegaraan, perundang-undangan dan yang lain)
merupakan bukti jelas wujudnya konsep bahasa Melayu supranasional, iaitu bahasa Melayu
yang melampaui batas negara di Kepulauan Melayu, apatah lagi batas negeri dan daerah di
sesebuah negara berbahasa Melayu. Bagaimanapun hal itu tampaknya sudah menjadi fakta
sejarah. Bahasa Melayu yang digunakan di negara-negara berbahasa Melayu kini sudah
memperlihatkan jurang yang cukup lebar dan dalam, baik pada segi kosa kata mahupun
wacana keseluruhannya. Sehingga demikian, keadaan saling faham antara pengguna
bahasa Melayu di negara-negara yang berlainan mengalami gangguan yang kadangkala
sampai pada tahap yang serius. Contohnya, buku yang diterbitkan dalam bahasa Melayu
varian Indonesia terpaksa diadaptasikan ke dalam bahasa Melayu varian Malaysia apabila
dicetak di Malaysia.
Memang sejarah tidak dapat diputar semula. Sejak kedatangan penjajah, bahasa
Melayu di rantau ini mula melalui jalan sejarah yang berlainan. Secara beransur-ansur
konsep bahasa Melayu persatuan yang terjelma dalam bahasa persuratan klasik berpencar
menjadi beberapa jalur yang menandai kewujudan bahasa Melayu berjati diri kenegaraan.
Bahasa Melayu di Malaysia, bahasa Melayu di Brunei Darussalam, dan bahasa Melayu di
Indonesia masing-masing membentuk ciri-ciri khusus yang menandai situasi kenegaraan.
Hal ini meskipun alamiah sifatnya dan tentu memberikan erti tertentu kepada kewujudan
negara berdaulat, namun dalam konteks kesuburan saling faham dan pemantapan wilayah
pengguna bahasa Melayu yang melampai batas negara, tidak dapat tidak isu itu
memerlukan perhatian yang saksama.
Memang bukan menjadi cita-cita pihak manapun dalam kalangan Majlis Bahasa
Brunei Darussalam – Indonesia – Malaysia (MABBIM) untuk mewujudkan satu bentuk
bahasa Melayu yang mutlak seragam bagi semua negara berbahasa Melayu. Hal itu bukan
sahaja tidak munasabah malah membentur kreativiti yang berlaku dalam bahasa Melayu di
setiap negara berkenaan. Yang sesungguhnya diperlukan bukan bahasa yang mutlak
seragam melainkan bahasa Melayu yang relatif seragam pada sistem asas setiap tingkat
korpus bahasanya, dari tingkat sebutan hingga ke tingkat tatabahasa dan laras bahasanya.
Inilah yang dimaksudkan dengan bahasa Melayu supranasional, iaitu bahasa Melayu yang
dapat memaksimumkan darjah keadaan saling faham dalam kalangan pengguna bahasa
Melayu di semua negara berbahasa Melayu dan juga di negara bukan berbahasa Melayu.
Kewujudan bahasa Melayu supranasional ini dapat juga membantu upaya
pengembangan bahasa dan persuratan Melayu di luar dunia Melayu, apabila pelajar dan
pengkaji asing tidak terganggu oleh terlalu besarnya jurang perbedaan antara bahasa
Melayu di negara-negara berbahasa Melayu, terutama varian bahasa Melayu di Malaysia
dengan varian di Indonesia.dengan Pengalaman pemakalah sendiri apabila memberikan
kuliah intensif kepada calon sarjana dan doktor falsafah di Universiti Sumatera Utara,
Indonesia menunjukkan wujudnya jurang komunikasi yang agak besar apabila sejumlah
kosa kata, baik kosa kata umum mahupun istilah perlu dijelaskan dalam varian Indonesia.
Upaya merealisasikan bahasa Melayu supranasional ini patut menjadi antara agenda dalam
peluasan bidang kerja MABBIM, sesudah lebih 30 tahun menumpukan perhatian kepada
aspek ejaan dan peristilahan. Paling tidak, kita perlu bermula dengan kajian dan
penyenaraian unsur-unsur yang berbeda antara varian-varian utama bahasa Melayu itu
untuk didedahkan kepada pengguna bahasa supaya wujud keadaan saling faham yang
tinggi sesama pengguna bahasa Melayu di negara yang berlainan dan juga untuk difahami
oleh pelajar serta peneliti asing (Awang Sariyan, 2003 dan 2009).
9
Prof. Emeritus Abdullah Hassan (1998) dalam perinciannya tentang upaya
mempromosikan bahasa Melayu supranasional (yang diistilahkannya sebagai dialek
Melayu supra) menekankan pentingnya pembinaan wilayah Melayu besar dalam konteks
membentuk kekuatan tamadun Melayu di wilayah Asia-Pasifik dalam alaf baharu.
Kekuatan tamadun Melayu, di sisi terletak pada jumlah hampir 300 juta umatnya, kata
Abdullah Hassan, terletak pada potensi pemikiran bangsanya.
Bahasa Melayu
supranasional merupakan wahana asas untuk membina pemikiran kolektif umat yang
menggunakan bahasa Melayu dalam kehidupannya. Selain itu, kewujudan bahasa Melayu
supranasional dapat memungkinkan pemanfaatan kekayaan gagasan yang terhimpun dalam
kepustakaan berbahasa Melayu oleh seluruh umat Melayu. Hal ini akan memberikan kesan
langsung kepada pengayaan minda umat Melayu untuk terus berkreativiti dan sekaligus
meningkatkan tamadun.
Perlu difikirkan hipotesis Abdullah Hassan tentang adanya pertalian yang
signifikan antara penggunaan bahasa sendiri dengan kreativiti bangsa itu. Bangsa yang
menggunakan bahasanya sendiri dalam pembinaan tamadunnya mampu berkreativiti tinggi.
Ia mengambil bangsa Jepun sebagai contoh unggul yang mampu menghasilkan pelbagai
produk, dengan pengembangan minda melalui bahasa sendiri. Sebaliknya bangsa yang
tertawan oleh bahasa asing dalam kehidupannya menjadi lesu dalam kreativitinya. Ia
mengambil contoh bagaimana bangsa India yang menggunakan bahasa Inggeris sebagai
bahasa pengucapan intelektualnya gagal memamerkan kreativiti yang gemilang berbanding
dengan bangsa Jepun. Dalam hubungannya dengan bahasa supranasional, kekayaan
pemikiran bangsa akan lebih terarah melalui penggunaan bahasa yang mempunyai ciri
kolektif yang besar.
Untuk membentuk bahasa Melayu supranasional, diperlukan upaya
menyelaraskan sistem bahasa Melayu antara negara. Dalam aspek sistem ejaan Rumi, kita
sudah mencapai keselarasan yang relatif tinggi sehingga tidak timbul lagi kesenjangan
pemahaman ketika membaca tulisan dalam bahasa Melayu yang terhasil di negara
berbahasa Melayu yang lain. Aspek yang cukup erat kaitannya dengan sistem ejaan ialah
sistem sebutan atau lafal. Selama MBIM dan MABBIM menangani kerjasama kebahasaan
sejak awal, aspek sebutan bahasa Melayu supranasional belum pernah dijadikan agenda
rasmi meskipun secara tersirat dan pada praktiknya upaya ke arah itu tampak wujud dalam
komunikasi antara sebilangan anggota perwakilan. Untuk maksud menjadikan bahasa
Melayu bahasa yang besar di persada dunia, perlu diwujudkan konsep “bahasa Melayu
unggul”, iaitu bahasa Melayu yang menjadi rujukan dan asas bagi pengajaran dan
pemelajarannya kepada generasi muda berbangsa Melayu dan juga kepada warga dari
wilayah bukan Melayu yang sejak dahulu menunjukkan minat yang besar untuk
mempelajari bahasa Melayu. Selain sistem ejaannya yang selaras, diperlukan sistem
sebutan yang selaras juga bagi bahasa Melayu supranasional. Asasnya telah ada dan telah
mantap di Indonesia dan di Brunei Darussalam, serta telah digerakkan di Malaysia sejak
tahun 1980-an (tetapi malangnya dimansuhkan penggunaannya oleh Kabinet dalam sistem
pendidikan negara dan media penyiaran pada tahun 2000).
Aspek lain yang penting ialah kosa kata. Selama ini MABBIM telah berhasil
menyelaraskan pedoman pembentukan kosa kata khusus, iatu istilah. Sebagai peluasannya,
perhatian patut diberikan juga kepada penggunaan kosa kata umum. Oleh sebab kosa kata
umum banyak dipengaruhi oleh latar sosiobudaya masing-masing pengguna bahasa Melayu
menurut daerah, negeri, dan negara, maka penyelarasan daripada segi penyusunan kamus
antara negara berbahasa Melayu cukup penting. Usaha Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei
10
Darussalam menerbitkan Kamus Bahasa Melayu Nusantara (2004) yang menjelaskan
varian bahasa Melayu Malaysia, Indonesia dan Brunei merupakan usaha permulaan yang
besar manfaatnya dan dapat dijadikan titik tolak pembentukan bahasa Melayu
supranasional dalam aspek kosa kata. Adanya kamus seumpama itu pasti dapat
meningkatkan darjah saling faham antara pengguna bahasa Melayu di ketiga-tiga buah
negara induk wilayah bahasa Melayu itu dan besar manfaatnya kepada pelajar dan peneliti
asing.
Di samping kamus, perlu diperbanyak persuratan yang memerikan ciri-ciri
sosiobudaya yang melatari kosa kata umum bagi pelbagai ranah kehidupan umat Melayu di
negara yang berlainan. Kesemua upaya itu bukan sahaja dapat meningkatkan darjah saling
faham antara pengguna bahasa Melayu di negeri yang berlainan bahkan sekaligus dapat
saling memperkaya kosa kata bagi bahasa Melayu, sehingga keperluan menyerapkan kata
daripada bahasa asing menjadi minimal.
2. Strategi yang Berkaitan dengan Upaya Memperkaya Khazanah Ilmu
Bahasa Melayu
Upaya perancangan bahasa Melayu pada tahap korpus bahasa belum benar-benar bererti
andaikata tidak dipertalikan dengan upaya pengayaan kepustakaan atau ilmu dalam bahasa
Melayu. Masih relevan kiranya kerangka perancangan bahasa yang dikemukakan oleh
Prof. Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana (1977) dalam konteks ini. Beliau membahagi tahap
perancangan bahasa Melayu kepada empat, iaitu pemilihan bahasa kebangsaan, propaganda
kepada rakyat, pembinaan bahasa, dan peluasan bahasa. Tahap ketiga itu ialah
perancangan korpus bahasa yang melibatkan pembakuan sistem ejaan, sebutan, tatabahasa,
dan kosa kata. Kemuncak perancangan bahasa Alisjahbana direalisasikan melalui peluasan
penggunaan bahasa Melayu yang salah satunya melalui bidang ilmu. Memang semua
tamadun sejak sejarah awal kehidupan manusia ditandai oleh kesuburan ilmunya, dan
kesuburan ilmu itu ditandai pula oleh kekayaan khazanah ilmunya, terutama dalam bentuk
tulisan. Oleh itu, pada tahap pembinaan korpus bahasa sudah relatif mantap, sampailah
saatnya MABBIM memberikan perhatian yang besar kepada upaya pengayaan khazanah
ilmu dalam bahasa Melayu untuk pemerkasaan bahasa dan bangsa Melayu sebagai
pendukung salah satu tamadun di dunia. Kehebatan khazanah persuratan ilmu dalam
zaman Melayu klasik pada sekitar abad ke-14 hingga abad ke-19 perlu digemilangkan
semula dalam abad kini dan akan datang.
Kerja penghasilan karya ilmu yang selama ini dilakukan secara sendiri-sendiri
memerlukan perubahan strategi andaikata kita ingin menyaksikan terhasilnya khazanah
ilmu dalam bahasa Melayu secara besar-besaran. Penggemblengan tenaga karyawan ilmu
dalam pelbagai bidang dari semua negara berbahasa Melayu perlu diusahakan. Perlu ada
perencanaan yang rapi untuk mengenal pasti bidang-bidang ilmu yang sudah agak “kaya”
khazanahnya dan bidang-bidang yang masih muda dan justeru memerlukan perhatian yang
lebih besar. Demikian pula, perlu dikenal pasti bidang-bidang ilmu yang sangat mendesak
keperluannya bagi pembangunan umat Melayu, katakan sahaja bidang teknologi maklumat
sebagai contoh. Dengan prasarana yang sedia ada dan dengan pengalaman kerjasama yang
cukup erat sejak hampir tiga dekad (sejak tahun 1972), MABBIM memiliki kekuatan
untuk menangani tugas memperkaya khazanah ilmu dalam bahasa Melayu dengan cekap
dan produktif, baik melalui penghasilan karya asli, terjemahan, mahupun adaptasi.
11
Kejayaan Indonesia menggerakkan penghasilan kerja terjemahan yang cepat dalam
pelbagai disiplin ilmu perlu dipelajari oleh negara kita, khususnya oleh Institut Terjemahan
Negara Malaysia (ITNM).
3. Strategi yang Berkaitan dengan Kerjasama dalam Penyelidikan dan
Penerbitan Bahasa
Satu segi lain yang perlu diberi perhatian ialah kerjasama dalam penyelidikan bahasa.
Memang terlalu banyak yang dapat diusahakan dalam bidang ini. Namun supaya ada arah
kerjasama yang jelas dan berfokus, saya menyarankan agar diberikan perhatian khusus
kepada kerjasama penyelidikan untuk mengisi Projek Penyusunan Sejarah Bahasa Melayu
yang dimulakan oleh Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Malaysia pada tahun 1985. Sejarah
bahasa Melayu dengan pengertian yang luas tentu perlu meliputi sejarahnya di seluruh
dunia Melayu, secara khusus, dan di seluruh buana amnya. Oleh itu, diperlukan
penggemblengan tenaga seluruh ahli ilmu yang dapat menyumbang kepada penyusunan
sejarah bahasa Melayu yang tuntas. Kekurangan maklumat tentang segi-segi tertentu
dalam pensejarahan bahasa Melayu pasti menjadikan projek tersebut pincang.
Secara kasar, Projek Penyusunan Sejarah Bahasa Melayu mencakup tiga bidang
utama, iaitu sejarah struktur bahasa Melayu, sejarah sosial bahasa Melayu, dan sejarah
kajian bahasa Melayu. Dalam yang pertama itu termasuklah kajian rekonstruksi bahasa
Melayu induk, struktur bahasa Melayu kuno pada prasasti, struktur bahasa Melayu klasik,
struktur bahasa Melayu peralihan, dan struktur bahasa Melayu baharu. Dalam yang kedua
pula termasuklah perkembangan dialek, laras atau variasi dari zaman ke zaman. Yang
ketiga pula meliputi pendokumentasian perkembangan kajian ilmiah tentang segala aspek
bahasa Melayu dari zaman ke zaman. Kesemuanya itu jelas hanya dapat ditangani dengan
penggemblengan tenaga seluruh ahli ilmu yang terlibat dengan bahasa Melayu, secara
cukup terencana dan berjadual. Dalam konteks inilah MABBIM dapat berperanan besar
dengan meluaskan cakupan bidang kerjanya.
Selain itu, projek-projek yang terbukti cukup berkesan dalam memaparkan sejarah
dan perkembangan semasa tentang bahasa, persuratan dan budaya Melayu, seperti yang
telah digerakkan oleh Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka sejak tahun 2000, iaitu Jejak Bahasa
(dengan kerjasama TV3) dan Semarak Bahasa (dengan kerjasama RTM) perlu diteruskan,
dengan menggarap kawasan-kawasan komuniti bahasa Melayu di seluruh dunia yang
belum dijejaki dalam dua siri dokumentari di televisyen itu.
Dalam bidang penerbitan, perlu diupayakan penyelarasan dalam pembinaan judul
penerbitan menurut keperluan dan kepentingan dalam bidang bahasa, sastera, budaya,
sejarah, agama dan bidang lain untuk kegunaan pengajian di peringkat antarabangsa. Saya
mengimpikan siri penerbitan hasil kajian dan karya besar kesarjanaan sebagaimana yang
pernah diusahakan oleh Institut Antarabangsa Kajian Asia, Belanda dengan Pusat Bahasa
Indonesia dalam siri ILDEP (Indonesian Linguistics Development Project) yang
menampilkan karya-karya penting dan hasil kajian tentang bahasa dan persuratan
Indonesia. Melalui siri penerbitan seumpama itu, dapat dirancang dan diusahakan
penerbitan segala hasil kajian penting tentang alam Melayu untuk disebarluaskan ke
peringkat antarabangsa. Alangkah ruginya sekian banyak tesis dan disertasi sarjana dan
doktor falsafah tentang tamadun Melayu dalam pelbagai bidang yang masih banyak
tersimpan di rak-rak perpustakaan atau di bilik penyelia. Masih amat kecil tesis dan
12
disertasi yang diterbitkan. Yang tidak kurang pentingnya ialah penerbitan bahan-bahan ajar
bahasa Melayu untuk keperluan penutur asing, termasuk kamus terperingkat.
4. Strategi Pengantarabangsaan Bahasa Melayu melalui Badan
Penyelaras - Majlis Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu (MABM)
Majlis yang dikenal dengan nama Majlis Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu atau singkatannnya
MABM (padanan bahasa Inggerisnya ialah International Council for Malay, dengan
singkatannya ICM) dengan rasminya dilancarkan penubuhannya pada 21 Ogos 2000,
serentak dengan sidangnya yang pertama yang dihadiri oleh wakil 20 buah negara anggota
dari seluruh dunia. Penubuhan majlis tersebut telah diluluskan oleh Kerajaan Malaysia
pada 2 Julai 1997. Majlis ini bermatlamat untuk meyelaraskan segala aktiviti yang
menjurus kepada pembinaan dan pengembangan bahasa Melayu di peringkat antarabangsa
dan menaungi jawatankuasa-jawatankuasa bahasa yang ada pada pelbagai peringkat.
Fungsi pembinaan bahasa yang dilaksanakan oleh MABM mencakup aspek
penyelidikan bersama dengan pelbagai institusi dan agensi dalam bidang bahasa dan
persuratan Melayu, termasuk usaha penerjemahan dan penerbitan dalam bahasa Melayu.
Fungsi pengembangannya pula meliputi program pengajaran dan pemelajaran di pusatpusat pengajian atau badan akademik, institusi penyelidikan dan budaya antarabangsa serta
mewujudkan kerjasama kebahasaan dan persuratan Melayu di seluruh dunia melalui
pelbagai program pengembangan.
Majlis yang menurut rancangan kerjanya bersidang mengikut jadual tertentu ini
perlu mengatur dan menyelaraskan pelbagai program dan aktiviti untuk mengisi dan
menyokong rancangan pembinaan dan pengembangan bahasa Melayu pada peringkat
antarabangsa. Jawatankuasa khusus (jawatankuasa kecil) perlu bermesyuarat sekurangkurangnya sekali setahun untuk mengatur strategi pelaksanaan program/aktiviti dalam
bidang kuasa masing-masing.
Antara aktiviti yang perlu diselaraskan termasuklah:
 Penubuhan dan pengukuhan pusat pengajian Melayu di institusi pengajian di
luar negara atau menyelaraskan kurikulum dan skopnya;
 Program pertukaran sarjana/pelajar/penyelidik pengajian Melayu di kalangan
negara anggota;
 Skim pertukaran/pemberian bahan berbahasa Melayu atau bahan tentang
tamadun Melayu di kalangan negara anggota;
 Penerbitan berbahasa Melayu atau penerbitan tentang tamadun Melayu;
 Persidangan, seminar dan kolokium bahasa Melayu di peringkat antarabangsa
sebagai wadah menyemarakkan pengembangan bahasa;
 Program galakan pengembangan dan penggunaan bahasa seperti anugerah,
hadiah, sumbangan, geran, dan sebagainya;
Keanggotaan Majlis ini terbahagi kepada tiga kategori, iaitu Anggota Majlis,
Anggota Pemerhati dan Anggota Undangan. Anggota Majlis merupakan tokoh bahasa
Melayu atau tokoh pengajian Melayu atau sarjana yang berwibawa dari pusat pengajian
atau penyelidikan mana-mana negara yang dilantik oleh Menteri Pendidikan Malaysia.
Pelantikan ahli Majlis berlaku sekurang-kurangnya satu penggal atau tiga tahun;
13
keanggotaannya boleh disambung dengan pelantikan baru, tetapi tidak melebihi dua
penggal berturut-turut, yakni 6 tahun. Anggota Majlis mempunyai hak mengundi.
Anggota pemerhati pula dilantik sebagai pemerhati mewakili institusi masingmasing. Anggota pemerhati tidak mempunyai hak mengundi. Walau bagaimanapun,
mereka boleh memberikan pandangan dalam sidang.
Anggota undangan ialah orang perseorangan atau wakil institusi yang diundang
oleh Majlis atau Urus Setia untuk hadir dalam sidang tertentu berasaskan kepakaran atau
kepentingan Majlis. Sekretariat tetap Majlis ini ialah Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
Dalam Sidang Pertama MABM pada 21 – 23 Ogos 2000, 20 buah negara telah
menghantar wakil yang terdiri daripada anggota Majlis dan juga pemerhati. Negara
tersebut ialah Afrika Selatan, Amerika Syarikat, Australia, Belanda, China, India,
Indonesia, Jepun, Jerman, Kemboja, Korea Selatan, Malagasi, New Zealand, Rusia, Sri
Lanka, Singapura, Tanzania, Thailand, dan United Kingdom, di samping Malaysia sebagai
tuan rumah sidang. Setiap wakil negara telah membentangkan laporan perkembangan
pengajian Melayu atau pengajaran bahasa Melayu di negara-negara masing-masing. Bagi
negara yang belum mengadakan program bahasa atau pengajian Melayu, seperti Afrika
Selatan dan India, telah dibentangkan rancangan ke arah itu.
Pada akhir sidang, 6 kelompok usul telah dikemukakan, iaitu yang berkaitan
dengan aspek pengurusan, program penggalakan, pengajaran dan penataran, program
pengajian Melayu, kerjasama antara negara anggota dan dukungan kewangan. Antaranya,
yang penting ialah:
Pengurusan dan Pentadbiran
1.
Jawatankuasa kerja yang anggotanya mewakili setiap wilayah perlu ditubuhkan.
2.
Perlu diwujudkan Laman MABM yang dirangkaikan dengan laman-laman web
negara-negara anggota.
3.
Perlu diadakan pertemuan kerja di peringkat antarabangsa untuk membincangkan
pelbagai topik, contohnya kaedah pengajaran bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa
asing.
4.
Perlu ditingkatkan usaha penyelarasan penggunaan bahasa dan istilah bahasa
Indonesia,
bahasa Melayu Malaysia dan bahasa Melayu Brunei untuk
menguatkan kedudukan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa antarabangsa.
5.
Misi Pemerolehan Maklumat (“fact finding mission”) perlu dilaksanakan di
negara anggota MABM yang belum mempunyai program pengajaran bahasa
Melayu seperti di Sri Lanka dan Malagasi.
6.
MABM harus memikirkan usaha untuk menubuhkan pusat bahasa Melayu yang
berperanan seperti The British Council, dan Alliance Francaise,
bagi
mengembangkan bahasa Melayu.
7.
MABM perlu mengkaji kemungkinan mewujudkan hubungan antara universiti
negara anggota dengan universiti negara induk bahasa Melayu.
14
8.
MABM haruslah memberikan tumpuan kepada usaha menubuhkan pusat-pusat
yang mengajarkan bahasa Melayu di negara anggota.
9.
MABM hendaklah memohon supaya kerajaan Malaysia mewujudkan unit bahasa
Melayu di semua kedutaannya dan sekali gus menjadi penggerak semua aktiviti
pengajaran dan pemelajaran bahasa Melayu.
10.
MABM hendaklah menubuhkan sekretariat yang bekerjasama dengan
Kementerian Pendidikan untuk menangani program pelantikan dan pengiriman
tenaga pengajar “sukarela” bahasa Melayu ke mana-mana jua negara yang
memerlukan bantuan pengajaran/ pemelajaran bahasa Melayu.
11. Perancangan dan penyelarasan di pelbagai peringkat untuk program pertukaran
dan penghantaran pakar ke institusi pengajian dan penyelidikan di kalangan
negara anggota MABM perlu dilaksanakan.
Program/Aktiviti Penggalakan
1.
Perlu diadakan aktiviti Bulan Bahasa di kelab, pusat kemasyarakatan dan pusat
pengajian tinggi di negara di luar dunia Melayu.
2.
Bagi menarik minat lebih banyak mahasiswa untuk mempelajari bahasa
Melayu, perlu diadakan promosi besar-besaran dan usaha mengembangkan
kaedah pengajaran bahasa Melayu.
3.
MABM perlu mengadakan festival Melayu dan sayembara menulis untuk
memperkenalkan dunia Melayu secara menyeluruh, teratur dan terus-menerus
kepada masyarakat antarabangsa.
4.
Aktiviti yang dicadangkan untuk menambah pelibatan pelbagai pihak dalam
usaha mengembangkan dan menyebarkan bahasa Melayu di peringkat
antarabangsa meliputi:
5.
Hadiah Tokoh Pengajian Bahasa atau Pengajian Melayu Antarabangsa (Tokoh
dalam negara dan luar negara yang giat dalam pengembangan bahasa Melayu).


Hadiah
Penyelidik/Peneliti
penyelidikan/penelitian).

Hadiah Pelajar Cemerlang bidang Bahasa di peringkat sekolah dan
institusi pengajian tinggi di seluruh dunia.

Anugerah
Institusi
Cemerlang
Bahasa/Pengajian Melayu).

Hadiah wibawa berbahasa Melayu dalam pelbagai genre (melalui
pertandingan atau sayembara).
(yang
giat
(dalam
menghasilkan
pengajian
Hadiah/ Skim Pertukaran Pelajar
15
Pengajaran/Penataran Bahasa Melayu
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Kursus bahasa Melayu hendaklah mencakup pelbagai peringkat
(rendah/asas, pertengahan, dan tinggi) dan golongan (pengajar,
pensyarah, penyelidik dsb).
Untuk mengemaskinikan kaedah pengajaran bahasa Melayu, sebaiknya
tenaga pengajar dari DBP dihantar secara berkala ke negara bukan
berbahasa Melayu untuk memberikan ceramah dan syarahan.
Pengajaran bahasa Melayu haruslah terangkum di dalamnya variasi
bahasa Melayu dan bahasa Indonesia.
Harus diadakan ujian atau olimpiad untuk menguji mutu bahasa Melayu
di kalangan murid di rantau ini.
Penyusunan buku pengajaran bahasa Melayu untuk penutur asli bahasa
asing perlu diusahakan.
Kursus intensif bahasa Melayu harus diadakan mengikut keperluan dan
dicadangkan supaya kursus begini merangkum program inap desa atau
“home stay”. Program “home stay” seperti yang dianjurkan oleh
Universiti Monash dan Deakin di Australia boleh dijadikan model.
Perlu diadakan usaha sama antara beberapa universiti di negara induk
bahasa Melayu dengan universiti-universiti di negara anggota MABM
untuk memberikan peluang kepada mahasiswa dan pensyarah dari
jurusan pengajian Melayu belajar di Malaysia, di Indonesia dan di
Brunei.
Ujian tara untuk bahasa Melayu (seperti ELTS Test untuk bahasa
Inggeris) bagi pelbagai peringkat (rendah, menengah, lanjutan) perlu
dikembangkan dan harus merangkumi keempat-empat kemahiran
berbahasa.
Kursus bahasa Melayu melalui telesidang harus diwujudkan untuk
membantu meluaskan pengajaran bahasa Melayu.
Negara induk bahasa Melayu perlu memberikan sokongan terhadap
pengajaran bahasa Melayu di negara-negara anggota MABM.
11.
Perlu ada usaha untuk mengembangkan dan memperbanyak bahan
pengajaran bahasa Melayu dan bahan rujukan asas dalam pelbagai bentuk
seperti bahan bercetak, kaset, V.T.R., filem, dan CD-Rom.
12.
Buku sastera yang dipilih sebagai komponen sastera dalam pengajaran
bahasa Melayu di sekolah menengah Malaysia, karya-karya pilihan
Indonesia, Brunei dan Singapura digunakan untuk mengajarkan bahasa
Melayu di luar negara.
13.
Harus dibina pangkalan data bahasa Melayu baku yang dapat diakses
melalui Internet untuk tujuan mendapatkan bahan pengajaran bahasa.
14.
Penyebaran bahan berbahasa Melayu atau bahan-bahan tentang bahasa,
alam dan pemikiran Melayu dalam bahasa-bahasa lain wajar digiatkan
dan dilaksanakan dengan terancang lagi teratur. Penyelarasan penyebaran
16
maklumat-maklumat lain tentang aktiviti ini perlu juga dibuat melalui
pelbagai cara dan wahana, contohnya melalui:
● institusi pengajian atau pusat penyelidikan
 persatuan atau pertubuhan kebahasaan
 pusat sumber (IPT, kedutaan dan badan-badan lain)
Program Pengajian Melayu
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Perlu diwujudkan program musim panas (summer school) untuk pelajar,
pakar dan pengkaji bahasa Melayu di luar dunia Melayu yang
menawarkan program pengajian Melayu.
Modul untuk pengajaran kebudayaan Melayu perlu ditawarkan sebagai
elektif, misalnya bagi pelajar program Pengajian Kebudayaan.
Pengajian Melayu perlu diperkembang supaya menjadi program pada
peringkat sarjana dan pascasarjana di luar dunia Melayu.
Kursi pengajian Melayu yang dijawat antara 1992-1998 di Universiti
Leiden harus dinilai untuk diisi semula. (Langkah pengisian Kursi telah
dilaksanakan pada tahun 2002).
Pemilihan tempat yang benar-benar sesuai untuk mewujudkan Kursi
Pengajian Melayu perlu dibuat berasaskan wilayah, kepentingan
ekonomi, diplomatik, sejarah dsb. agar mendatangkan manfaat atau
dampak yang besar.
Kursi Pengajian Melayu di Universiti Victoria, Wellington, harus
dipindahkan ke Universiti Auckland kerana universiti tersebut adalah
satu-satunya universiti di New Zealand yang masih menawarkan
pengajian bahasa Melayu.
MABM perlu memberikankan cadangan dan pandangan untuk
mewujudkan Kursi Pengajian Melayu di pusat pengajian pilihan untuk
mengangkat taraf dan citra sarjana bidang pengajian ini dan sekali gus
mengangkat bahasa serta pengajian Melayu di dunia.
Kerjasama Antara Negara Anggota
1.
MABM harus emikirkan usaha menempatkan tenaga pakar untuk
mengajarkan bahasa Melayu di negara anggota seperti Thailand,
Kemboja, Malagasi, Afrika dan Sri Lanka.
2.
Pertukaran pakar/pensyarah amat diperlukan antara pusat-pusat pengajian
di pelbagai negara anggota yang menawarkan kursus bahasa Melayu atau
program pengajian Melayu.
3.
Siswazah yang berkelulusan M.A. dihantar ke Malaysia sebagai
penolong pensyarah atau ditawarkan khidmat di mana-mana institusi,
misalnya untuk membantu kerja-kerja penterjemahan atau bekerja secara
kontrak.
17
4.
Pensyarah/penyelidik muda harus diberi peluang untuk diundang ke
negara induk bahasa Melayu sebagai karyawan tamu, di samping
penyelidik veteran yang berpengalaman.
5.
Harus diusahakan projek penyelidikan/penelitian tentang variasi-variasi
bahasa Melayu moden (yang merangkumi bahasa Melayu Indonesia,
Malaysia, Brunei, Singapura) dengan tujuan menghasilkan buku yang
membantu pelajar asing mengenal variasi-variasi tersebut.
6.
Kerjasama penyelidikan di kalangan negara anggota MABM amatlah
perlu bagi bidang dan aspek penyelidikan seperti yang disenaraikan di
bawah:

Sejarah Bahasa dan Persuratan Melayu (mencakup pelbagai aspek)

Bahasa dan Linguistik

Perbandingan Bahasa dan Sastera (dengan pelbagai bahasa/sastera
asing)

Perkamusan dan Peristilahan

Pengajaran Bahasa dan
pendekatan dan kaedah)

Bahasa dan Pemikiran Melayu

Bahasa/Linguistik Melayu (Terapan)
Sastera
Melayu
(dengan
pelbagai
7.
Perlu ditingkatkan usaha untuk menerbitkan kamus bahasa Melayubahasa asing, misalnya kamus bahasa Rusia-bahasa Melayu, bahasa
Cham-bahasa Melayu dan bahasa Korea-bahasa Melayu, untuk tujuan
pengajaran dan pengembangan bahasa Melayu.
8.
Perlu diterbitkan buku teks bahasa Melayu untuk tenaga pengajar asing,
berdasarkan peringkat kemahiran, misalnya tingkat permulaan,
pertengahan dan lanjutan.
9.
Perlu diterbitkan buku yang mencerminkan kebudayaan/ kehidupan di
Indonesia dan Malaysia. Untuk ini, ahli bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia dan
beberapa pakar bahasa Melayu asing harus bekerjasama.
10.
Penerbitan dan penterjemahan karya sastera negara anggota dari atau ke
dalam bahasa Melayu perlu ditingkatkan. Karya sastera yang perlu
diterjemahkan harus dikenal pasti, disenaraikan dan diterbitkan di negara
masing-masing.
11.
Perlu diterbitkan Buletin MABM yang disebarkan melalui media
elektronik.
12.
MABM perlu menerbitkan hasil kajian mengenai bahasa dan orang
Melayu, serta bahasa-bahasa lain (seperti bahasa Cham), terutamanya
bahasa Austronesia yang dituturkan di Alam Melayu.
18
13.
Perlu diusahakan penerbitan bibliografi bahan pengajian Melayu di
seluruh dunia yang dapat diakses melalui internet.
14.
Kerjasama penulisan, penterjemahan dan penerbitan boleh diusahakan
bagi bahan-bahan seperti yang berikut, antaranya:

Bahan tentang Bahasa dan Sastera Melayu

Bahan tentang Seni, Tradisi dan Budaya Melayu

Bahan-bahan Berunsur Falsafah dan Pemikiran Melayu

Bahan-bahan untuk Perbandingan dari Bahasa Lain

Bahan-bahan Pengajaran bagi Pengajian Melayu

Penerbitan Berkala/ Buletin/ Surat Berita

Jurnal Dunia Melayu
Dukungan Kewangan
1.
Biasiswa untuk pengajian bahasa Melayu bagi pelbagai peringkat dan
golongan perlu disediakan, misalnya biasiswa untuk pelajar cemerlang,
biasiswa untuk membolehkan pelajar asing ditempatkan di salah sebuah
universiti di negara induk bahasa Melayu.
2.
Sumbangan perlu diberikan kepada penerbit untuk tujuan penterjemahan
karya sastera dari atau ke dalam bahasa Melayu.
3.
Sokongan kewangan perlu diusahakan untuk membantu kursus bahasa
Melayu yang ditawarkan sebagai kursus tambahan agar berkembang
menjadi kursus yang lengkap.
Dana perlu disediakan untuk pengajaran linguistik, sains sosial dan
kemanusiaan dengan tujuan menghasilkan sarjana dan peneliti bahasa
Melayu bagi mengatasi masalah semakin kurangnya sarjana dan peneliti
bahasa ini, baik di dalam mahupun di luar negara.
4.
Sebahagian rumusan sidang MABM yang tersenarai di atas telah dilaksanakan, tetapi
malangnya sesudah sidang kali keempat pada tahun 2004, kegiatan MABM telah
ditangguhkan dan syukurlah pada tahun 2012 upaya mengaktifkannya semula telah
mendapat restu kepemimpinan DBP yang menjadi urus setia MABM.
4.0
Pertimbangan Strategi Pengajaran
Pertimbangan strategi pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing bergantung
pada beberapa asas. Jack C. Richards (1991), misalnya, menyebut perkara yang berikut
sebagai asas utama keberkesanan sesuatu program bahasa:
1. Faktor sosiobudaya
2. Faktor gaya pengajaran dan pemelajaran
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3. Faktor pelajar
4. Ciri-ciri program (persediaan pengajar, kesahan kurikulum dan prosedur
pengujian, ragam pelajar, bahan, penyelarasan tenaga)
Asmah Haji Omar (2003) membincangkan faktor-faktor yang berikut sebagai asas
pengajaran yang berkesan bagi program pengajaran bahasa kepada penutur asing:
1. Mengenal pasti keperluan pelajar
2. Menghadapi kumpulan pelajar yang keperluannya pelbagai
3. Keutamaan: fungsi atau bentuk?
4. Pendedahan kepada fungsi-fungsi bahasa
5. Pertimbangan wacana dan lakuan bahasa
6. Pengajaran nahu
7. Peraturan Sosial dan Budaya
8. Pemilihan variasi bahasa
9. Penyusunan dan pengelolaan butir-butir pengajaran
Untuk kertas kerja ini, pemakalah memusatkan perhatian pada lima aspek yang
utama, iaitu:
1. Pelajar
2. Pengajar
3. Kurikulum dan Kaedah
4. Sumber/bahan
5. Pengujian dan penilaian
Faktor Pelajar
Aspek pelajar meliputi isu:
1. peringkat, sama ada rendah, menengah, pengajian tinggi atau asas,
pertengahan, maju;
2. kelompok,sama ada pelajar insitutusi pengajian, profesional atau orang
awam;
3. tujuan dan keperluan mempelajari bahasa Melayu.
Kedua-dua variabel di atas menentukan pengajar, kurikulum dan kaedah, sumber atau
bahan dan pengujian dan penilaian yang sesuai dengan peringkat dan kelompok berkenaan.
Di Kemboja dan di Sri Lanka, misalnya, terjadi keadaan kursus bahasa Melayu yang
disertai oleh pelbagai peringkat usia dan latar belakang demografi lain yang amat berbeda.
Sewaktu pemakalah memberikan kursus bahasa Melayu di Seam Reap, Kemboja, dalam
tahun 2003, misalnya, kursus berkenaan dihadiri oleh peserta semuda 12 tahun dan setua
60 tahun. Di Sri Lanka, guru bahasa Melayu yang dilantik oleh DBP dan Pesuruhjaya
Tinggi Malaysia di negara itu mengalami masalah berhadapan dengan pelajar semuda
belasan tahun dan setua 70-an dan dengan pelbagai latar belakang pendidikan dan kerjaya.
Masalah yang dihadapi oleh pengajar dengan mudah dapat diduga, terutama berkaitan
dengan bahan dan kaedah pengajaran dan juga kesan psikologi pada kedua-dua pihak, iaitu
pengajar dan pelajar. Maka itu, sebaik-baiknya pelajar perlu dikelompokkan menurut
sekurang-kurangnya dua variabel yang pertama itu tadi.
Sebaik-baiknya dikenal pasti juga tujuan dan keperluan pelajar mempelajari bahasa
Melayu. Di Universiti Hankuk, di Universiti Busan dan di Universiti Pengajian Asing
Beijing serta di Universiti Penyiaran Beijing, ada pelajar yang mempelajari bahasa Melayu
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untuk tujuan ilmiah (melanjutkan pengajian ke peringkat pascasiswazah) tetapi ada juga
yang bertujuan untuk mendapatkan kerja di sektor pelancongan, penyiaran, penerjemahan
dan diplomasi. Pengajar tampaknya perlu berusaha menyeimbangkan pengajaranya untuk
memenuhi dua keperluan itu.
Dalam kes yang lain, pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada diplomat dan profesional
yang lain memerlukan strategi yang berlainan daripada strategi pengajaran kepada pelajar
di institusi pengajian. Kursus yang dikendalikan oleh Persatuan Linguistik Malaysia untuk
doktor dari Pakistan, anjuran Dewan Bandar Raya Kuala Lumpur, misalnya, memerlukan
pengajar menumpukan perhatian pada keperluan doktor-doktor berkenaan berkomunikasi
dengan pesakit, di samping komunikasi sosial yang lazim. Diplomat kedutaan asing di
Malaysia memerlukan kemahiran komunikasi sehari-hari dan sedikit banyaknya
komunikasi rasmi.
Di Universiti Frankfurt (Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universitat), program intensif
pengajaran bahasa Melayu anjuran bersama DBP dan Universiti Frankfurt (2004) telah
diadakan sebanyak tiga kali untuk calon Magister (Sarjana) Pusat Pengajian Asia Tenggara
universiti tersebut. Kali pertama ialah program selama sebulan setengah yang dikendalikan
oleh Prof. Emeritus Dr. Abdullah Hassan dengan bantuan Prof. Dr. Bernd Nothofer dan
Prof. Dr. H. Steinhaeur berteraskan keperluan memahami persamaan dan perbedaan antara
bahasa Melayu variasi Malaysia dengan bahasa Melayu variasi Indonesia. Maka penekanan
pengajaran adalah pendedahan aspek kosa kata dan struktur antara kedua-dua variasi itu.
Kali kedua dan kali ketiga, program berkenaan dikendalikan oleh Prof. Dr. Awang
Sariyan (pada tahun 2006 dan 2007). Di samping meneruskan perbandingan dua varian
bahasa Melayu, kandungan kursus turut meliputi sosiolinguistik bahasa Melayu (termasuk
sejarah dan perkembangan semasa tentang taraf bahasa Melayu dan kepelbagaian ragam
bahasa yang wujud di Malaysia), sebutan baku dan tatabahasa bahasa Melayu. Hampir
sepanjang kursus intensif itu berlangsung, Prof. Bernd Nothofer yang ketika itu menjadi
Pengarah Pusat Pengajian Asia Tenggara menjadi pendamping. Kehadiran beberapa orang
pensyarah di Pusat tersebut sebagai peserta banyak juga membantu pemakalah untuk
mendapat gambaran tentang masalah yang biasanya dihadapi oleh pelajar dalam soal
penguasaan bahasa asing, terutama bahasa Melayu.
Di Republik Rakyat China pula, pemakalah diberi tanggungjawab berkuliah
kepada pelajar lepasan sekolah menengah (pelajar di China melalui sistem 12 tahun
pendidikan formal – 6 tahun di sekolah rendah dan 6 tahun di sekolah menengah) yang
datang dari pelbagai provinsi di negara tersebut dan tiada pengetahuan sama sekali tentang
bahasa Melayu. Oleh sebab itu, kuliah tahun pertama dikendalikan oleh pensyarah penutur
jati China, dan subjek yang diberikan meliputi Lisan (Mendengar dan Bertutur), Membaca,
Bahasa Melayu Intensif (kosa kata, asas tatabahasa, perbualan dan pemahaman teks) serta
Hal Ehwal Malaysia, selain subjek-subjek wajib universiti dan bahasa Inggeris.
Untuk tahun kedua, subjek yang ditawarkan meliputi Bahasa Melayu Intensif II,
Lisan II, Penulisan dan Hal Ehwal Malaysia II (bagi kumpulan pelajar tertentu, seperti
kumpulan pada sesi akademik 2008/2009, subjek Tatabahasa Bahasa Melayu dikuliahkan).
Pada tahun ketiga, pelajar mengikuti kursus Tatabahasa Bahasa Melayu, Terjemahan Lisan,
Pengenalan Sastera Melayu dan Budaya Melayu (bagi kumpulan pelajar tertentu, seperti
pada sesi akademik 2008-2009, subjek Perbandingan Bahasa Melayu Varian Malaysia dan
Varian Indonesia telah dikuliahkan).
Pada tahun keempat, kursus yang ditawarkan ialah Terjemahan Teks, Bahasa dan
Masyarakat (Sosiolinguistik), Perbandingan Bahasa Melayu Varian Malaysia dan Varian I
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ndonesia, Sastera Melayu (Analisis Karya Agung Terpilih), Hubungan China-Malaysia,
Dasar Luar Malaysia dan Isu Semasa Malaysia. Selain itu, pelajar tahun akhir disyaratkan
menulis latihan ilmiah, dan malah ada sesi viva-vocee sebagai syarat kelulusan latihan
ilmiah itu.
Pada sesi akademik 2009, program pengajian Melayu peringkat sarjana telah
dimulakan di Universiti Pengajian Asing Beijing, dengan pemilihan struktur program kerja
kursus dan tesis. Kuliah yang diberikan setakat ini meliputi Sosiolinguistik Bahasa Melayu,
Kaedah Penyelidikan Bahasa dan Penulisan Ilmiah, selain kursus-kursus wajib universiti.
Penetapan agar pelajar diberi peluang mendapat pendedahan di negara berbahasa
Melayu tampaknya perlu dijadikan dasar, untuk memungkinkan penghayatan yang lebih
baik tentang bahasa Melayu. Pelajar Universiti Pengajian Asing Beijing, sejak tahun 2007,
telah dihantar mengikuti kuliah satu semester di Akademi Pengajian Melayu, Universiti
Malaya melalui program pemindahan kredit. Kemuncaknya ialah program inap desa yang
melibatkan pelajar tinggal dengan penduduk kampung Melayu selama seminggu atau dua
minggu untuk menghayati bahasa dan budaya Melayu secara praktis. Pelajar diminta
menulis laporan tentang pengalaman dan kesan mereka sesudah tamat menyertai program
tersebut. Universiti Bangsa-bangsa Guangxi di Nanning pun bermula pada tahun 2010 akan
menghantar pelajar kumpulan pertama ke Univerisiti Malaya atau mungkin ke universiti
lain untuk program selama satu tahun.
Faktor Pengajar
Pengajar bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing menghadapi cabaran yang lebih berat
daripada pengajar bahasa Melayu kepada penutur ibunda atau penutur kedua (dalam kes di
Malaysia orang Melayu ialah penutur ibunda dan orang Cina, India dan kumpulan etnik
lain sebagai penutur kedua). Daripada segi linguistik, pengajar perlu sedikit banyaknya
mempunyai maklumat kontrastif antara bahasa Melayu dengan bahasa ibunda pelajar.
Pengalaman pemakalah memberikan kursus kepada penatar dari Sri Lanka menunjukkan
bahawa mereka terpengaruh oleh struktur M-D (akibat pengaruh bahasa Tamil dan
Sinhalese).
Di Republik Rakyat China, masalah timbul oleh sebab pelajar dipengaruhi oleh
bahasa kebangsaan mereka, iaitu bahasa Mandarin yang memang berlainan dalam beberapa
banyak aspek sistemnya berbanding dengan bahasa Melayu, baik aspek fonologinya
mahupun aspek tatabahasanya. Oleh sebab itu, pengajar perlu sedikit banyaknya membuat
analisis kontrastif antara bahasa Mandarin dengan bahasa Melayu, walaupun pengajar tidak
semestinya mahir berkomunikasi dalam bahasa pertama pelajar itu. Di Universiti Pengajian
Asing Beijing, usaha menghasilkan perbandingan beberapa aspek tatabahasa Melayu dan
bahasa Mandarin dimasukkan dalam salah satu bidang kajian yang ditangani oleh
Penyandang Kursi Pengajian Melayu dan tenaga akademik Jurusan Bahasa Melayu. Untuk
memahami sistem sosiobudaya antara dua kelompok penutur (Melayu dan China), kajian
dilakukan dalam aspek perbandingan sistem sapaan dan ungkapan fatis serta peribahasa.
Diharapkan bahawa hasil kajian analisis kontrastif dan aspek sosiobudaya itu dapat
menjadi asas pengajaran yang lebih berkesan.
Sebagai rumusannya, pengajar yang berkesan dalam program pengajaran bahasa
Melayu kepada penutur asing ialah pengajar yang bersedia memahami latar sosiobudaya,
sistem nilai dan sistem bahasa ibunda pelajarnya. Faktor-faktor yang berkaitan dengan
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pelajar yang dibincangkan sebelum ini dengan sendirinya harus diperhitungkan oleh
pengajar.
Kurikulum dan Kaedah
Kurikulum program bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing pertama-tamanya bergantung
pada tujuan dan keperluan pelajar itu sendiri. Pada umumnya semua pelajar perlu diberi
pendedahan dan penguasaan dua aspek pokok, iaitu aspek kemahiran bahasa dan aspek
sistem bahasa. Kemahiran bahasa meliputi empat kemahiran bahasa, iaitu mendengar,
bertutur, membaca dan menulis. Sistem bahasa pula meliputi tatabahasa, sebutan, ejaan,
kosa kata dan laras bahasa. Bagaimanapun peringkat, kelompok dan tujuan akan
menentukan pemberatan yang sesuai.
Doktor dari Pakistan di Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur yang dilatih oleh
Persatuan Linguistik Malaysia ternyata memerlukan kemahiran mendengar dan bertutur
lebih banyak daripada kemahiran membaca dan menulis, kerana tujuan dan keperluan
mereka belajar bahasa Melayu adalah untuk berkomunikasi dengan pesakit di Malaysia.
Maka kemahiran membaca dan menulis tidak terlalu dititikberatkan walaupun tetap perlu
diberikan.
Pelajar di Universiti Pengajian Asing dan di Universiti Pernyiaran Beijing,
misalnya, mempelajari bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa formal untuk tujuan ilmiah dan juga
kerjaya, dan di samping itu didedahkan kepada pelbagai ragam yang wujud dalam
masyarakat untuk keperluan interaksi sosial. Maka kurikulumnya meliputi aspek yang
menyeluruh. Selain kemahiran mendengar, bertutur, membaca dan menulis, penguasaan
sistem bahasa, terutama tatabahasa direncanakan dengan agak mendalam. Sosiolinguistik
dikuliahkan untuk mendedahkan kepelbagaian ragam bahasa Melayu yang wujud dalam
masyarakat, khususnya untuk memungkinkan pelajar menyedari diglosia yang wujud
antara ragam bahasa rasmi dan ragam bahasa tidak rasmi. Kuliah sastera dan budaya
Melayu diberikan sebagai pelengkap penguasaan bahasa. Aspek lain yang ditekankan
dalam kurikulum di Universiti Pengajian Asing Beijing ialah sejarah Malaysia, aspek
politik, ekonomi dan sosial di Malaysia, hubungan China-Malaysia dan isu-isu semasa
Malaysia, yang kesemunya seakan-akan menjurus kepada pengajian Malaysia.
Pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing tampaknya turut melibatkan
peserta yang sebenarnya merupakan bangsa Melayu tetapi bukan daripada kalangan
Melayu di kawasan inti Melayu (Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam). Antaranya
termasuklah Melayu di Kampuchea, Melayu di beberapa tempat di Thailand Selatan dan
waris Melayu di Sri Lanka. Di Kampuchea, peserta kursus baru mengenal bahasa Melayu
baku di peringkat yang amat asas, kerana bahasa Melayu yang dikuasai oleh mereka ialah
bahasa Melayu Cam, dan sebilangannya malahan lebih mahir dalam bahasa Khmer. Oleh
itu, maka tenaga pengajar yang lantik oleh DBP menyediakan kurikulum yang amat asas
dengan menitikberatkan aspek lisan dan sedikit-sedikit aspek tulisan. Tidak ada sama sekali
pengajaran tatabahasa secara formal. Situasi yang lebih kurang sama berlaku di beberapa
bahagian Thailand Selatan. Kecuali di Patani (yang sebilangan besar pelajarnya lebih
berpeluang mendapat pendedahan tentang bahasa Melayu, oleh sebab faktor bersempadan
dengan Malaysia). Pelajar di wilayah Songkla dan Yala, misalnya, memerlukan kurikulum
yang asas. Perkembangan baharu pula menunjukkan bahawa bahasa Melayu telah mula
diikuti oleh penutur asing yang terdiri daripada pelajar berbangsa Thai, seperti yang
terdapat di Universiti Walailak, di wilayah Nakon Si Thamarrat (sumber wawancara
dengan Abdul Razak Panaemalae, pensyarah Bahasa Melayu di universiti tersebut, 2010).
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Di Sri Lanka pula, walaupun peserta kursus terdiri daripada waris bangsa Melayu,
namun bahasa Melayu yang digunakan mereka ialah suatu bentuk Melayu kreol, iaitu
bahasa Melayu yang telah memadukan unsur-unsur bahasa Melayu dengan bahasa
Singhalese dan Tamil. Profil peserta menunjukkan bahawa sebilangannya lebih kerap
menggunakan bahasa Inggeris daripada bahasa Melayu kreol itu. Maka, kurikulum yang
disediakan pun asas sifatnya, iaitu kemahiran bahasa dan sistem bahasa yang asas.
Pengalaman menunjukkan bahawa untuk kelompok dan untuk tujuan apapun,
pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing lebih sesuai berteraskan kaedah terus,
dengan kadangkala berbantukan kaedah terjemahan. Hanya di peringkat tertentu, iaitu
apabila pelajar telah menguasai bahasa Melayu, kaedah kod-kognitif yang menekankan
penguasaan rumus mungkin sesuai diterapkan, khususnya untuk pelajar yang telah sampai
pada peringkat analisis linguistik.
Sumber dan Bahan Ajar
Pemilihan dan penyediaan sumber atau bahan pengajaran dan pemelajaran program
pengajaran bahasa kepada penutur asing menjadi cabaran yang tidak kurang besarnya.
Pengajar tidak boleh memilih dan menyediakan bahan menurut kesukaan dan minat
peribadinya. Prinsip yang paling penting ialah kesesuaian bahan itu untuk peringkat usia
tertentu, untuk peringkat program (permulaan, pertengahan atau maju) dan kelompok
tertentu (berasaskan kerjaya dan lain-lain).
Dalam hal pemilihan dan penyediaan sumber atau bahan pengajaran dan pemelajaran
inilah pengajar perlu memasukkan unsur-unsur sosiobudaya yang melatari bahasa Melayu
agar penguasaan bahasa Melayu oleh pelajar asing itu tidak terpisah daripada konteks
sosiobudayanya. Pengalaman pemakalah mengajar dua kumpulan pelajar dari Universiti
Deakin, Melbourne, Australia (2005 dan 2006 di Universiti Putra Malaysia) menunjukkan
bahawa mereka perlu diorientasi, dengan pengertian diberi pendedahan kepada situasi
sosiobudaya di Malaysia kerana selama ini mereka mempelajari bahasa Melayu yang
berlatarbelakangkan sosiobudaya di Indonesia.
Menyepadukan bahan untuk meliputi kemahiran berbahasa (mendengar, bertutur,
membaca dan menulis), sistem bahasa (tatabahasa, kosa kata dan sebagainya) dan juga
kandungan bahasa (ilmu dan maklumat serta aspek sosiobudaya) merupakan cabaran
terbesar kepada pengajar. Modul yang biasa dianjurkan oleh pemakalah (dan juga oleh
sejumlah pengajar lain) ialah penyediaan dan penyusunan bahan yang berteraskan tema
tertentu, misalnya pada peringkat asas tema yang berkaitan dengan “diri”, “keluarga”,
“hobi”, “negara”, “makanan”, “perayaan” dan sebagainya.. Selain mengisi tema itu dengan
struktur atau binaan bahasa (kata, frasa, ayat dan wacana) yang sesuai, tema itu perlu diisi
dengan maklumat atau ilmu yang berkaitan (misalnya nama, usia, pekerjaan atau
tahun/bidang pengajian, hobi dan sebagainya). Aspek sosiobudaya yang dapat dikaitkan,
misalnya, ialah kata ganti nama diri dan bentuk sapaan yang betul dalam bahasa Melayu
apabila merujuk kepada diri sendiri dan diri orang lain.
Bahan itu pula mestilah berbagai-bagai bentuk dan konteksnya. Maksudnya,
daripada segi bentuk, pengajar perlu menyediakan bahan berbentuk audio, video, grafik,
lukisan, brosur, iklan dan karya kreatif. Daripada segi konteksnya, perlu disediakan bahan
yang berkaitan dengan pelbagai aspek kehidupan, daripada yang asas seperti diri kepada
keluarga, masyarakat, kesenian, sukan, rekreasi, reka cipta, dan di peringkat yang tinggi
boleh tentang politik, pemikiran dan sebagainya.
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Pengujian dan Penilaian
Pengujian dan penilaian yang dilaksanakan perlu selaras dengan objektif pengajaran. Bagi
pelajar yang mengikuti program pelajaran bahasa Melayu sebagai mata kuliah atau kursus
di insitutusi pengajian, ujian yang berkaitan dengan kemahiran bahasa yang empat
(mendengar, bertutur, membaca dan menulis) dan sistem bahasa (tatabahasa dan yang lainlain) perlu diberikan. Bagi pelajar yang mempelajari bahasa Melayu untuk tujuan khusus,
seperti doktor dari negara asing, mereka tidak perlu diberi ujian yang meliputi semua aspek
kemahiran dan sistem bahasa, sebaliknya diuji penguasaan komunikatifnya sahaja. Yang
lebih penting dalam program pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing ialah
instrumen pengujian dan penilaian yang diagnostik sifatnya, iaitu yang dapat memberikan
maklumat tentang pencapaian pelajar dari waktu ke waktu, bukan semata-mata pada akhir
program yang mungkin tidak bertepatan dengan pencapaian sebenar pelajar.
Di Universiti Pengajian Asing Beijing, selain ujian dalam bentuk peperiksaan
pertengahan semester dan peperiksaan akhir semester, ujian kecekapan bahasa menyeluruh
diadakan dua kali sepanjang pengajian, iaitu pada tahun kedua dan tahun akhir (tahun
keempat). Dalam ujian kecekapan bahasa menyeluruh itu, pelajar diuji dalam aspek lisan,
pembacaan, penulisan dan tatabahasa. Kelulusan dalam ujian kecekapan itu menjadi syarat
pengijazahan.
5.0
Isu Variasi Bahasa Melayu: Variasi Malaysia Atau Indonesia?
Umumnya ada dua variasi bahasa Melayu yang dominan, iaitu variasi Malaysia dan
variasi Indonesia. Bahasa Melayu Brunei masih amat rapat dengan variasi Malaysia jika
dibandingkan dengan variasi Indonesia dan oleh itu dapat dikelompokkan dalam variasi
Malaysia. Fakta menunjukkan bahawa bahasa Melayu yang dipelajari dan diajarkan kepada
penutur asing di sebahagian besar pusat pengajian di negara asing ialah bahasa Melayu
variasi Indonesia yang dikenal sebagai bahasa Indonesia. Variasi Malaysia baru
diperkenalkan di beberapa pusat pengajian, seperti di Universiti Pengajian Asing Beijing
(sejak tahun 1961), di Universiti Komunikasi China (sejak tahun 2002), di Universiti
Bangsa-bangsa Guangxi (sejak tahun 2008), serta di Universiti Pengajian Asing Hankuk
dan Universiti Pengajian Asing Busan, kedua-duanya di Korea.
Di Eropah baru sahaja dimulakan usaha memperkenalkan bahasa Melayu variasi
Malaysia apabila Universiti Frankfurt, Jerman mengendalikan kursus bahasa Melayu yang
disertai oleh pelajar dari seluruh Eropah dan juga Rusia pada tahun 2004. Di Universiti La
Rochelle, Perancis, dengan usaha Dr. Laurent Metzger yang selama lebih dua dekad
bertugas di Universiti Malaya dan beberapa tahun di Universiti Kebangsaan Singapura,
usaha mendedahkan variasi Malaysia telah dimulakan pada tahun 2002. Di Oceania,
Universiti Melbourne, Australia, melalui usaha Prof. Alexandaar Adelaar,variasi Malaysia
turut diperkenalkan walaupun variasi Indonesia masih cukup dominan. Universiti Deakin,
Australia pula baru pada tahun 2005 memulakan pendedahan pelajarnya kepada bahasa
Melayu variasi Malaysia apabila pelajarnya dihantar ke Malaysia untuk mengikuti kursus
bahasa Melayu di Universiti Putra Malaysia dengan kerjasama Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.
Pada hemat pemakalah, isu ini tidaklah terlalu besar dan tidak harus dijadikan
halangan untuk mengembangkan bahasa Melayu di peringkat antarabangsa. Majlis
Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu (MABM) telah memutuskan bahawa bahasa Melayu yang
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didukung oleh majlis tersebut ialah bahasa Melayu supranasional, yang tidak ditandai ciri
khusus mana-mana negara. Meskipun tampak mudah tetapi rumusan itu memang kurang
realistik, kerana variasi Indonesia dan variasi Malaysia akan tetap tampak wujudnya. Maka
itu, jalan sebaik-baiknya ialah memperkenalkan kedua-dua variasi itu supaya pelajar asing
memperoleh manfaat untuk keperluan dan destinasi yang berbeda, iaitu Malaysia dan
Indonesia. Terbitnya Kamus Bahasa Melayu Nusantara (DBP Brunei Darussalam, 2003)
yang memasukkan lema variasi di Malaysia, di Indonesia dan di Brunei Darussalam
banyak membantu pemahaman pelajar asing tentang perbedaan yang wujud, terutama
tentang makna kata yang berbeda.
Daripada sudut ejaan, dapat dikatakan bahawa tidak wujud perbedaan yang terlalu
jauh sehingga pelajar asing tidak akan menghadapi masalah besar berhadapan dengan teks
dalam bahasa Melayu variasi Malaysia dan variasi Indonesia. Demikian juga istilah dalam
pelbagai bidang ilmu sebahagiannya telah diselaraskan. Kedua-dua aspek itu, iaitu sistem
ejaan dan istilah bagi bahasa Melayu mencapai keselarasan yang relatif tinggi berkat
kerjasama kebahasaan serantau melalui Majlis Bahasa Brunei Darussalam - Indonesia Malaysia (Mabbim) yang telah bermula pada tahun 1972. Namun aspek kosa kata umum
dan juga gaya bahasa tampaknya perlu ditangani dengan lebih terancang dan giat.
6.0
Kesediaan Dan Persediaan
Kesediaan dan persediaan yang dimaksudkan oleh pemakalah ialah bahawa negara-negara
berbahasa Melayu, khususnya Malaysia, Indonesia dan Brunei Darussalam perlu pertamatamanya mempunyai kesediaan untuk menggerakkan program pengajaran bahasa Melayu
kepada penutur asing secara bekerjasama dan menjadikannya agenda negara-negara
berbahasa Melayu. Majlis Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu (MABM) perlu diaktifkan terus
dengan dukungan semua negara berbahasa Melayu, meskipun inisiatif pembentukannya
diupayakan oleh Malaysia. Perlu ada pemeruntukan dana bersama untuk segala program
kebahasaan dan persuratan Melayu di peringkat antarabangsa. Sebagai contoh, apabila
diadakan Minggu Bahasa dan Persuratan Melayu (seperti yang pernah diadakan di
Australia dan di Eropah), semua negara berbahasa Melayu perlu ikut serta menjayakannya,
daripada tahap perencanaan, pendanaan dan pengisian program.
Demikian juga, program Bahasa Indonesia untuk Penutur Asing (BIPA) yang telah
lebih maju daripada program pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing di Malaysia
(dan mungkin di Brunei Darussalam juga) hendaklah dimanfaatkan bersama serta
diubahsuaikan menurut keperluan tertentu. Dengan perkataan lain, perlu ada perencanaan
bersama dalam kalangan negara-negara berbahasa Melayu untuk menyediakan
kurikukulum, menyarankan kaedah, penyusunan bahan dan ujian tara bagi program bahasa
Melayu. Jika untuk bahasa Inggeris ada British Council, untuk bahasa Perancis ada
Alliance Francaie dan untuk bahasa Jerman ada Institut Goethe, maka untuk bahasa
Melayu perlu ada badan yang diberi amanah mengajarkan bahasa Melayu di peringkat
antarabangsa, dan paduan kerjasama antara negara-negara berbahasa Melayu akan
memungkinkan gagasan itu berhasil dengan lebih segera dan berkesan. Dengan demikian,
tidak berlaku persaingan atas nama negara, sebaliknya berlangsung kolaborasi yang
menguntungkan bahasa Melayu dan negara-negara berbahasa Melayu.
26
Aspek lain yang perlu diberi perhatian khusus ialah penyediaan bahan ajar bahasa
Melayu melalui internet yang ternyata jauh lebih berkesan dan meluas khalayaknya serta
interaktif pula jika dibandingkan dengan penyediaan bahan atau modul pelajaran dalam
bentuk bercetak semata-mata. Untuk menjayakan program ini, diperlukan kepakaran
mengolah bahan ajar bahasa Melayu untuk disalurkan melalui internet. Perkembangan
terkini yang perlu dicatat ialah usaha Pusat Pengajian Asia Tenggara, Northern Illinois
University di bawah pimpinan Prof. Dr. James T. Collins mewujudkan kamus bahasa
Melayu-bahasa Inggeris di talian yang apabila siap akan dapat dicapai oleh pelajar asing
yang bahasa pertamanya bahasa Inggeris. Projek yang seumpama itu sepatutnya
dilaksanakan juga untuk pelajar yang bahasa pertamanya bahasa selain bahasa Inggeris,
seperti bahasa Mandarin, bahasa Korea, bahasa Jepun, bahasa Rusia, bahasa Perancis dan
sebagainya. Prasarana asasnya sudah ada kerana sebahagian kamus bahasa-bahasa utama
dunia itu telah diterbitkan oleh DBP atau penerbit lain di dalam dan di luar negara;
demikian juga yang dilancarkan pada tahun 2008 meliputi Kamus Thai-Melayu.
7.0
Penutup
Kertas kerja ini secara umum telah membincangkan dua hal pokok. Yang pertama ialah
latar sejarah dan perkembangan bahasa Melayu yang telah merentas benua dari zaman
lampau, terutama dalam zaman Kesultanan Melayu yang diwakili oleh bahasa Melayu
klasik hingga zaman moden tempoh yang mutaakhir. Program pengajaran bahasa Melayu
kepada penutur asing berkaitan dengan upaya mengisi keperluan yang timbul daripada
kedudukan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa yang dipelajari di pelbagai pusat pengajian di
seluruh dunia. Demikian juga halnya dengan keperluan lain, seperti pengajaran bahasa
Melayu kepada komuniti Melayu yang telah terpisah daripada komuniti induknya di dunia
Melayu, sebagaimana yang terjadi di Sri Lanka, Afrika Selatan, Kemboja, Thailand dan
Filipina, dengan sebahagian mereka berbahasa pertama atau berbahasa ibunda dengan
bahasa yang lain daripada bahasa Melayu.
Bahagian kedua kertas kerja ini berfokus pada beberapa pertimbangan asas untuk
menjadikan pengajaran bahasa Melayu kepada penutur asing berkesan. Aspek pelajar,
pengajar, kurikulum dan kaedah, bahan ajar dan pengujian dan penilaian telah
dibincangkan secara umum, dengan merujuk kepada asas teoretis dan juga pengalaman
berkuliah serta mengajarkan bahasa Melayu kepada pelajar asing, baik di dalam mahupun
di luar negara. Dalam bahagian pendidikan bahasa, dikupas juga isu bahasa melayu variasi
Malaysia dan variasi Indonesia. Akhirnya pemakalah mengharapkan pimpinan negaranegara berbahasa Melayu, melalui institusi perancangan bahasa masing-masing (Dewan
Bahasa dan Pustaka di Malaysia dan di Brunei Darussalam dan Pusat Bahasa di Indonesia)
memainkan peranan yang lebih terencana dengan menjadikan pengantarabangsaan bahasa
Melayu sebagai agenda negara dan rantau dunia Melayu, dengan salah satunya melalui
program pengajaran.
27
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31
My Journey of Bilingualism: Borders Crossing
Prof Wong Yoon Wah
Senior Vice President, Southern University College
Biodata: Malaysian-born Wong Yoon Wah was Professor and Head of the Department of
Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore before he retired in 2003. He
joined Yuan Ze University (Taiwan) in 2003, serving as Dean of the College of Humanities
and Social Sciences, and Head of Chinese Linguistics and Literature from 2003 to 2006,
when he became Faculty Professor and Director of International Language and Culture. He
is now the Senior Vice President of Southern University in Malaysia. A veteran writer who
has won many literary awards including the Southeast Asia Write Award (1984), the
Cultural Medallion (1986), and the ASEAN Cultural Award for Literature (1993), Wong’s
creative works are in prose and poetry. They include Beyond Symbols (1984), 榴梿滋味
[Taste of Durian; 2003], 热带雨林与殖民地 [Tropical Rainforest and British Colony;
1999; an English version, The New Village 新村and 人文山水诗集 [Cultural Landscape;
2005]. Wong is a scholar]. Wong is a scholar of Chinese literatures and comparative
literature.
1. I Chanted Anti-British Slogan, but I Learned English Seriously
I was born and brought up in the decades that saw political awakening and the rise of
anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments, epitomized by the slogan Merdeka, or
"independence". As social unrest was on the rise and amid an eruption of national passions
for anti-colonialism, I also chanted anti-British slogans. The students were taught to belief
in Chinese-medium schools that British imperialism resulted in the spread of English and it
was our duty to reject the influence of foreign imperialism. However, being a student of the
Chinese school, I learned English seriously, though it was considered a vehicle through
which the British power could be perpetuated. To learn English voluntary was betraying
my fellow students, especially those with strong nationalism and leftist thinking. They
thought I betrayed China to the British enemy because I learned the language which would
spread British Colonialism.
Foreign cultural influence can be seen by the "receiving" culture as either a threat to
or an enrichment of its cultural identity. For me it is a preservation of cultural diversity and
such diversity is valuable or instrumentally valuable because it makes available more ways
of solving problems and responding to changes of the world. Today I consider the learning
of English language and culture on my part is a kind of voluntary embracing of a foreign
culture by individuals who do so of his own free will. My bilingualism of Chinese and
English has made my career to be effective as a global player, and also a good international
citizen.
2. Why Did My English-Educated Father Send Me to a Chinese School?
My father was a civil servant of the colonial government. Like most of the parents
did during the British rule, he was sent an English school for education because it was the
32
only way to ensure he could find a job. One of the main features of imperial oppression
was control over language. The imperial education system installed English language
which was the medium through which a hierarchical structure of power is perpetuated, and
the medium through which concepts of truth, order and reality become established. The
typical colonial English school’s language policy was mono-lingual and therefore my
father was unable to speak Mandarin Chinese, let alone writing and reading. He spoke
Hakka dialect at home. Cultural imperialism used to inject the culture or language of one
nation into another. The cultural hegemony or white supremacy language attitude was
designed and powerful enough to destroy the national thinking of the ruling peoples. Why
the Chineseness of my father still prevailed? Why a person who was English-educated still
wanted to send his son to Chinese school?
I think there were many reasons behind his decision. Soon after my birth in 1941,
Singapore and Malaya were conquered and occupied by the Japanese Empire from 1942 to
1945. The Japanese army imposed harsh measures against the local population, especially
the Chinese civilians. The mass executions claimed between 25,000 and 50,000 lives in
Malaya and Singapore, to retaliate against Chinese for their resistance and support of the
Sino-Japan war. Chinese civilians suffered severe hardship throughout the three and a half
years of Japanese occupation. The rise of national consciousness and crisis of the Chinese
were some reasons that drove my father to sending me to Chinese school. Ironically, the
most direct cause was a local British official who enlightened my father’s bilingualism. My
father was one of the few Chinese who were English educated in Temoh, a small town in
Perak, Malaysia. As a boy, I was very proud of my father who always served as interpreter
for the British supervisors in the workplace and translated government notices for the
villagers. Actually many British officials received Mandarin language training before they
were sent to join the colonial government civil service in Malaya and Singapore. There was
one local British resident official in our town and he was interested in my father because he
was a staff of a British dredging company and looked like a well educated gentleman. He
was greatly disappointed later because he found my father was unable to speak to him with
fluent Mandarin Chinese. My father also felt ashamed for being unable to speak, write and
read. For my father, sending me to a Chinese school was a kind of compensation.
The lasting picture of my father in my mind is the one showing he was self-studying
Chinese at home. After his retirement, my father spent all his time in studying Mandarin.
As far as I know, he was only able to read the Chinese newspaper with the help of a
dictionary at the time he passed away. I inherited and realized my father’s dream of being
bilingual.
3. The Bilingualism as an Unprecedented Source of Creative Energy
In my early part of my life I was labeled “Chinese educated”, and I have been
struggling hard to change such identity. To be “Chinese educated”, it means you were
second class beings who were living in the lowest rung of the society. However, the
meaning of being Chinese educated was changed once I had crossed the border of Malaysia
or Singapore. In the age of globalization and the rise of China, the Chinese educated,
especially those who are bilingual and multi-lingual, have become an unprecedented source
of creative energy.
33
During the anti-colonialism and the struggle for independence movement of Malaya,
Singapore, the radicalism and hostility towards the British were developing strongly. The
Chinese nationalism was also growing to its extreme after the Japanese invasion. As the
imperial government used English to promote cultural hegemony and Western supremacy,
the students and teachers in the Chinese medium schools, especially the leftists resisted
English completely. Taking no interest in politics, my father encouraged me to learn
English, wishing his son to become a bilingual man. Working in a European company my
father knew very well the need of commanding more than one language to connected
people of all ethnic-cultural backgrounds. Chinese and English languages can tie oneself to
the world of economy. He thought the bi-lingual education provided by the Chinese school
was farsighted and pragmatic. As I have said earlier that his encountered with a fluent
Mandarin speaking British official was also decisive.
My father served as a low-level civil servant after finishing his O level English
education at the Penang Free School which was founded in 1816, being the oldest English
school in Malaysia. When he found my English teacher was not serious in teaching
English, he started tutoring me English after class in the afternoon .Two of my classmates
joined me later. My father’s English lessons made my English proficiency much better than
my classmates. I intended to study Chinese literature when I was applying admission to a
Taiwan university, but I was offered to do Western literature because my English was
excellent as it appeared in my academic records. During my four years of study in Taiwan,
as a Chinese educated Chinese from Malaysia, I found my English had good market value.
I was asked to give tutorial lesson to fellow students who failed freshman English,
surprisingly many of them were from Chinese schools of Singapore and Malaysia. I was
also hired by local families to give English lessons to their children who were attending
secondary or high school. Incidentally, I was commissioned to translate three novels, and
numerous poems and essays for publishers in Taiwan. The Chinese translation of Albert
Camus’s The Stranger, was commercially most successful. It was one of the best selling
translated novel in the late 1960and 1970s. When I returned to Taiwan to teach after my
retirement from NUS in 2003, I found many people of my age were readers of this
translation.
I returned to my hometown in Malaysia in 1966, but my B.A. degree I earned from
National Taiwan University was not recognized by the Ministry of Education. Almost all
other graduates from Taiwan universities met the same fate of unemployment. I was the
only exception because of my multilingualism in Chinese English and Malay. At that time
my alma mater had been converted into Pei Yuan National Type Secondary School and had
been implementing the new curricula. The revamped National education system, based on
the mixed recommendations of the Barnes Report and Fenn-Wu Report, was designed to
"provide for the creation of a sense of common citizenship". The textbooks were in English
but the instruction media was in Chinese. Being bilingual in Chinese and English, I was the
most qualified teacher. The school principal recommended me to the Perak State Ministry
of education and I was appointed to be a teacher. Almost all my neighbors didn’t belief and
they thought I was employed to teach in the Pei Yuan Independent Secondary School. My
teaching lasted only for seven months because I was soon offered a scholarship to study by
an American University. Since the communist takeover China Mainland in 1949, American
offered a large number of scholarships to scholars of Chinese studies.
34
4. Sino-Centrism VS International Perspective
When I was completing my Ph D dissertation at the University of Wisconsin in
Madison, I received a letter from the Singapore Embassy in Washington DC. They not only
provided information about job opportunity in Singapore, I was offered a return air-ticket
and some pocket money to be interviewed by the Singapore ambassador in Washington. I
was so excited that I went to Washington and I was interviewed by the ambassador. For the
first time I realized a Chinese educated man had not been neglected by the Singapore
Government. One year after obtaining my Ph D from University of Wisconsin, I was
appointed lecturer at the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of Nanyang
University in 1973.
The staff members of the Department at Nanyang were mostly recruited from Taiwan
and they expressed surprise and doubt about my Ph D degree in Chinese Studies from an
American university. The Chinese cultural hegemony had been maintained and the Sinocentric attitude was still dominating at that time. I learned later that if I was not strongly
recommended by the Singapore Embassy, I certainly would not have been accepted. The
Singapore students’ reactions were very different that they were exciting to study Chinese
literature with someone with Western scholarship. Lim Buan Chay who is now Associate
Professor of Chinese language and literature at National Institute of Education is one of
them. The Western scholarship of various areas of Chinese culture developed by Sinology
and the more current Chinese studies inspired him. He is now developed to be a top scholar
among his generation, though he was completely locally trained. Another Nanyang student
Toh Lam Huat was attracted by my creative thinking and international perspective and he is
now considered one of top journalist in Singapore. I was badly disturbed by my Nanyang
colleagues whose mindset and scholarship were very much Sino-centered. However, I was
soon to be fully accepted and respected by these Chinese scholars trained in China
Mainland or Taiwan as Nanyang University was becoming more national and global after
my arrival.
Paradigm shift is needed when our society and university have been transformed. As
mentioned by Prof Theodore H. E. Chen in an evaluation report of Chinese studies in
American universities, the graduate programs related to all areas of Chinese studies in the
American top universities were greatly expanded after World War II. One of the important
qualitative expansions was a change in the nature and methods of Chinese studies. This
change was brought about by new trends in American scholarship with increasing attention
to interdisciplinary studies and research and to the development of new methodology
reflecting the impact of the natural and biological sciences on social science and the
humanities. As sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, as well as historians, political
scientists, and economists turned attention to the study of China, they introduced new
viewpoints and new approaches to the fields of Chinese studies. Language teaching has
benefited by the impact of modern linguistics, while the study of Chinese literature has
been enriched by the concepts and methodology of comparative literature.
Most American universities, the large and truly superb faculty is dedicated to
35
providing both specialized training in the study of East Asian materials as well as a broad
education in the diverse methods and approaches that can be used to understand these
materials. Most departments of Chinese Studies are also blessed to be part of an extremely
vibrant community with wide-ranging resources. For example the Harvard-Yenching
Library offers one of the best collections of East Asian materials in the world, the HarvardYenching Institute brings in a large number of top scholars from Asia every year, and the
various area centers (the Asia Center, Fairbank Center, Korea Institute, and Reischauer
Institute) are very active in supporting post-doctoral scholars and in organizing workshops
and speaker series. For these reasons, NUS in the 1980s began sending senior tutors of
Chinese Studies to US to receive their MA and Ph D training.
Six years after joining Nanyang University, the National University of Singapore was
formed through a merger between the University of Singapore and Nanyang University in
1980. NUS began as an undergraduate institute that emphasized teaching excellence. Prof
Lim Pin and Prof Shih Choon Feng have transformed it into a premier institution
embracing research as an integral part of its mission. I was among the first batch of
lecturers sent to teach at the joint campus in Bukit Timah because some courses dealing
with Chinese literature were offered for non Chinese-medium students and were taught in
English and with a global perspective. After setting up NUS, there were more courses with
English as the media of instruction were offered. Being bilingual in Chinese and English
has become one of the basic requirements for newly recruited staff of the Department of
Chinese Studies since 1980. As NUS moving towards becoming a globally-oriented
university, to recruit staff who are trained in the Western universities with diverse
backgrounds has become a policy. At the moment, more than ninety percent of the staff of
Chinese Studies at NUS received their Ph D degrees from the West, mostly from top
American universities.
Looking back as I am approaching the end of my journey of bilingualism, I realized that I
have been a pathfinder who went before others and showed the way over unknown land. I
am not only the first Western-trained scholar of Chinese Studies in Nanyang and I was also
the first one to have obtained full professorship of Chinese Studies since the formation of
NUS in 1980. My Taiwan academic training had laid a good foundation for my
scholarship. The perspective I gained through direct experience and participation in
Chinese life would remain a valuable source that no amount of library study and research
can replace. My US training provided me
techniques of analysis and interpretation
developed by modern methodology. Being bilingual, I started participating international
conferences and seminars held in many countries and contributed research papers to
international journals and published books in English and Chinese. My scholarship is
considered international. I must say that if I received my training in Nanyang University or
University of Singapore or in Taiwan, and being monolingual, it would be difficult to
develop myself to be an international scholar. I left the safe and easy living environment
and ventured out into the deeper, richer ocean waters which present enormous challenges.
However, the oceans offered me limitless space and diverse opportunities to grow to the
fullest potential.
36
5. Multi-Culturalism and Our World Class Scholars
At the turn of the 21st century, NUS started reinventing itself to be a dynamic
community, imbued with a “no walls” culture and a spirit of enterprise, which promotes the
free flow of ideas and builds synergies between the processes of creating, imparting and
exploiting knowledge. The academic staff members are of international quality and
globally-oriented, coming from diverse backgrounds. The staff members have had to go
through the test of these criteria of excellence. The university designed a new promotion
system in about 2000 and reviewed and assessed the achievements of all the staff. The staff
who were promoted to full professors in the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, almost all
of them are bilingual or multilingual, Western-trained scholars with diverse backgrounds.
Among the staff who were promoted to full professors in the year as I was, Ng Chin
Keong, a Malaysia born and brought-up historian and Suryadinata Leo, an Indonesian born
and brought up political scientist. Both of them know more than one language and are
Chinese educated and western trained. I also noticed many who were not successful in this
round of promotion review are English educated and locally educated scholars. They are
formerly with Singapore University and are monolingual.
As a scholar in the fields of literature, history and political and social science, multilingual, multicultural background and diverse experiences are the basic elements to be
successful. Our world class scholars Wang Gungwu, a scholar of Chinese overseas and Ho
Ping Yoke, a historian of Chinese civilization, science and technology, are characterized
by these features. Wang was born in Indonesia and brought up in British colonial Malaya.
After finishing high school in Ipoh, Malaya, he studied Western languages and literature in
China, history in the University of Malaya, Singapore, where he received both his Bachelor
and Masters degrees. He also holds a Ph.D. from the University of London. Prof Ho, a
Chinese Malaysian origin, began as a physicist but shifted to Chinese civilization and
technology. Wang’s academic career has taken him from Malaya to Singapore, Australia,
Hong Kong . Prof Ho has occupied senior academic positions in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur,
Australia and Hong Kong before becoming the Director of the Needham Research Institute
in 1990. Chinese and Ho Peng Yoke has published widely on Chinese alchemy, astronomy,
divination and mathematics. Wang Gungwu is one of the most influential historians of his
generation, expanding the horizons of Chinese history to include the histories of the
Chinese and Chinese overseas.
6. The Road Less Travelled
American poet Robert Frost( 1874–1963) writes in a poem entitled “The Road Not
Taken” in 1915:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
37
In the past I always took the road less traveled by people when there were two roads
diverged in a wood. After graduated from Pei Yuan High School in Kampar in1961, almost
all Chinese educated students went to Nanyang University, but I opted for Taiwan. With a
BA degree from a Taiwan university, it was easier to continue graduate school there, but I
went to USA. We were required to retire at the age as early as 55 years old at NUS, and as
a full professor, I was lucky to be able to stay until 62. For almost all my former colleagues
at NUS, they stayed at home after retirement which for them was the full stop of their
academic and teaching career. I took another less traveled road by others again. I went
overseas to Taiwan and began my second academic career.
Returning to Taiwan where I studied for my first degree 36 years ago, I joined Yuan
Ze University which is one of the 12 top research universities in Taiwan, I first served as
Dean of College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Chairman of Department of
Chinese Linguistics and Literature in 2003 before I was appointed to the t Faculty
Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences and con-currently Director of International
Language and Culture Center in 2006. With my diverse cultural backgrounds, I found it
was easy adapting myself to working under changing social and academic environment. I
found myself to have better market value in Taiwan where it is a place of single culture and
less globalization.
My unusual career as a scholar of Chinese studies began in Taiwan in 2003. Like the
other universities in Taiwan, Yuan Ze is moving towards becoming a global university and
a paradigm shift is needed. My international research and teaching experiences and
multicultural backgrounds was fully qualified as an academic leader. Appointed as a Dean
of Humanities and Social Sciences, I helped them to realize the 4Is which are innovation,
Internationalization, Integration and Information in teaching, learning and research.
Innovation can be achieved only through integration of knowledge. Therefore I have started
breaking down the established structural and disciplinary boundaries, allowing for
exchange of ideas and flow of people across Departments and Faculties. The College began
to offer a broad-based curriculum underscored by multidisciplinary courses and crossfaculty enrichment. A new change is brought about by the advent of new information
technologies – particularly those for communication. Peter Drucker predicts in his book
The Rise of the Next society, the rise of “ knowledge workers”, particularly he newer
“knowledge technologists”.
These knowledge workers do not identify themselves as workers, but as
professionals. These people who do much of their work with their hands,[ but the pay is
determined by the knowledge between their ears, acquired in formal education rather than
apprenticeship. Knowledge technologists have portable skills that are centered in
themselves rather than in institute and equipment controlled by someone else. When drew
up the road map of Department of Chinese, I am struggling hard to connecting Chinese
with digital technology. I am also working hard to increase the English proficiency of the
arts and social science students. When it is successful, the students produced by the Faculty
of Humanities and Social sciences are “knowledge technologists” who are the most
powerful managers of the society in the age of information. My former Chinese Studies
students graduated from NUS Dr. Chua Chee Lay and Miss Lim Sau Hoong are really
knowledge technologists. They were educated at NUS which offered broad-based
38
curriculum underscored by multidisciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. More
importantly they are effectively bilingual in Chinese and English with diversity culture. Dr
Chua is an information linguist, the Director of Chinese Language Lab of Singapore. Lim
Sau Hoong who received Designer of the Year of 2007, President Design Awards, is the
Executive Creative Director of 10.a.m.Communications , an advertising design and creative
content company.
7.
Building Bridges Across Diverse Cultures
The bilingual population of writers in Singapore today is not small, but very few of
them have played a critical role in engaging with the writers of diverse cultural traditions.
Last year I was appointed a leader to lead a group of writers to visit as part of the
Singapore Season in China program organized by the Singapore Art Council. The initial
idea was to bring only writers who write in Chinese as it is going to China. Being bilingual,
Dr Chua Chee Lay and I strong insisted the delegates to be consisting of writers of all
language streams. We need to show China the many voices and faces of Singaporean
writers. Our national literature is written in Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. When we
read our works in our four languages, Chinese audience in Shanghai and Beijing were
fascinated by the many faces and voices of Singaporean writers. The multi-cultural,
syncretic and hybridized and other post-colonial elements of our literature written in four
languages produce a new writing of the world.
My father inspired me to building bridges across diverse cultures. In the past thirty
years I have been working as one of the pioneers building a platform for the writers of the
four language groups. Many writers still remembered I was the first person to bring nonChinese speaking writers into the former Nanyang University campus for a poetry reading
in 1976. For the first time in history, the dominating Chinese speaking people heard four
language voices of poetry resounding the campus surrounded by the rainforest. For many
writers like Masuri bin Sulikun, Suratman, Markasan, Edwin Thumboo, Robert Yeo, Rama
Kannabiran, it was their first excited journey into the mysterious Kingdom of Chinese
Culture, which was a remote place at that time. I was happy to knock down the wall of
Chinese language and culture. For the same reason, I was also the first Chinese writer to
bring non-Chinese speaking writers to visit China in 1999. The-10 day lecture-cumreading in many cities in China opened the mind of our writers including Shaharuddin
Maaruf, Isa kamali, Elangvan, Rama Kannabiran and Philip Jeyaretnam, Edwin Thumboo
Seella Kon and Heng Siok Tian. For almost all of them, China remained as an abstraction
and a myth and only came into existence through this long cultural journey.
The number of Chinese educated writers or intellectuals who are bi-lingual is not small, but
few have built up very close friendship with writers of other languages. I always work hard
to build and maintain relationships with other writers because our national literature is a
combination of writings in four languages. My joint venture with non-Chinese speaking
writers like Edwin Thumboo, Arasu, Masuri S.N , Arthur Yap, Kirpal Singh, Robbie Goh
and many others in compiling multi-lingual anthology of Chinese literature is another
project of building bridges across diverse cultures, to create platforms for dialogue across
cultures. We have compiled works such as Anthology of ASEAN Literature, Home and
39
Nation:Anthology of Singapore Poetry, Rhythms: A Singapore Millennial Anthology of
Poetry. With these multi-lingual editions of Singapore writings in four languages, we know
what are the special characters of each language literature and what are the constitutive
elements of our national literature. With these anthologies, we have pushed diverse peoples
closer.
8. Language and IT
The Rise of Network Society brings up many important issues regarding
globalization and what Manuel Castells calls the network society. The technological
revolution that began in the late 70s in Silicon Valley has had a profound impact on all
aspects of society. The truly revolutionary impact of the information revolution is just
beginning to be felt. It is difficult to theorize about the ways in which information
technology will continue to transform our society.
During the colonial period my father taught me to learn more than one language in
order to earn a living and to travel far. I used to compare my bilingualism to the train. With
two rails, it traveled fast and safe. Today, the computer is to the Information Revolution
what the railroad train was to the Industrial Revolution. So have added one more thing to
my father legacy by tell my students: Being bilingualism or multilingualism is not enough,
you must know how to make use of information technology. Then you would become are
the knowledge workers or knowledge technologists who would increasingly dominate
developed societies.
40
A Comparative Discourse Analysis of Hedges in OpinionGiving by Arab EFL and Malay ESL Learners in WhatsApp
Focused Group Discussions
Hussein W. Alkhawaja 1, Shamala Paramasivam 2
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Abstract
Communicating appropriately in a target language (English language) requires both ESL
Malaysian learners and their counterparts Arab EFL learners to develop linguistic and
pragmatic awareness in the target language. One aspect of such development is their use of
linguistic hedges to modify their speech acts and realize politeness. However, little
attention has been given to investigate these learners’ linguistic and pragmatic use of these
devices. The purpose of this study is to fill this gap in the literature by conducting a study
that examines the use of hedges in relation to politeness between these two groups of
learners while exchanging their opinions in focused group discussions created on
WhatsApp application. To this end, the current study used a descriptive design that
employed quantitative and qualitative methods to identify the types, frequency, and
pragmatic functions of hedges in relation to politeness. The sample consisted of four EFL
Arab learners and five Malaysian ESL learners who study English in a Malaysian
university. The data collected in forms of comments by means of focused group
discussions were coded and analyzed based on Fraser’s (2010) Taxonomy of English
Hedges. They were then uploaded to Excel to find the frequency and percentages of the
types of hedges used. This was followed by a detailed pragmatic analysis based on Brown
and Levinson’s (1987) Politeness Theory. The findings showed that both types of learners
use hedges in stating their opinions. However, they use different categories and hedges
types and realize politeness differently.
Keywords: Hedges, Politeness, opinion, Arab EFL learners, Malay ESL learners
Biodata:
Hussein W. Alkhawaja of Jordan is currently a PhD candidate in the Comparative Applied
Linguistics program at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). His current research interests
include research in discourse and communication as well as language and cognition.
Shamala Paramasivam is associate professor at Faculty of Modern Languages and
Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. She specialises in Language in Intercultural
Communication, Discourse Studies, English for Specific Purposes, and Teaching English
41
as a Second/Foreign language. She is a board member on Asian EFL, Asian ESP, and
Journal of Language and Communication.
1.0
Introduction
In order to avoid communication breakdown in Academic setting, English foreign/second
language learners are required to possess a level of linguistic and pragmatic competencies
over using the form and function of the target language. These competencies help send and
receive communicative messages effectively and appropriately (Fraser, 2010). However,
the Arab learners in the Malaysian universities find themselves restricted in communicating
their feelings and needs using the English language (Sattar, Lah, & Suleiman, 2009). A
possible reason for this phenomenon could be attributed to the lack of adequate linguistic
and pragmatic input of using English among these learners at the school level. For the Arab
learners who speak English as a foreign language (EFL), the only source for practicing
English language prior to university stage is through the schools which focus mainly on
mastering the English grammar rules while communicative competence is still at low levels
of interest (Mukheef, 2012). To overcome their weaknesses, these learners usually rely on
scripts transferred from their first language and cultural norms (Al-Ali & Alawneh, 2010;
Dendenne, 2014). Although the reliance on the first language and cultural norms seems
promising solution to these learners, it might cause further complications in their
communication. For example, using direct utterances in their speech reflects patterns of
politeness incompatible with other foreign contexts such as the Malaysian context. These
patterns are usually considered impolite as they threaten the face of the addressees (BlumKulka, House, & Kasper, 1989; Brown & Levinson, 1987; Leech, 1983). Nevertheless, the
Arab learners being more direct in their speech even with their intimate friends does not
mark impoliteness but a kind of association, closeness, and group belonging (Tawalbeh &
Al-Oqaily, 2012).
In contrast, the Malaysian learners are more exposed to speaking English as a
second language (ESL) on a daily basis at schools, universities and even streets. This
makes them linguistically and pragmatically more competent than the Arab learners.
Culturally speaking, the way of speaking in the Malaysian society is marked by
indirectness. For example, when they come across an unacceptable situation, Malaysian
people keep calm, do not say anything, or sometimes avoid dealing with those situations in
a face-to-face manner (Mustafa, 2002). This kind of confrontation avoidance is valued and
preferred in the Malaysian culture. Moreover, communicating in good manners is a way of
living among the Malaysians who speak with breeding and sensitivity to those with whom
they interact on a more formal basis. Those who do not comply with these cultural rules are
usually considered as rude and impolite (Teo, 1996). Besides, politeness is an important
issue in the Malaysian culture, and the Malaysians prefer to be polite through being indirect
in their speech (Paramasivam, 2007). These cultural values of a society always affect the
rules of speaking in that society (Merriam & Mohamad, 2000). Omar (1996) as cited in
Krish, Maros, and Stapa (2012), and Maros and Stapa (2012) maintained that affiliation,
appreciation, fairness, loyalty, and obedience are parts of Malaysian culture. In general, the
Malaysians view being ‘direct’ as inappropriate in most situations. Even if it was a positive
42
thing, an individual should try to be indirect when expressing their comments or opinions
(Zawawi, 2008).
1.1
Literature Review
Communication in academic setting can be investigated from three main functional areas of
language use. These areas include the learners’ speech act performance, modification of the
speech acts, and expression of politeness.
1.1.1
Speech act performance
In performing speech acts, the Arab EFL learners tend to rely on their cultural norms and
their Arabic as their first language. In a study conducted by Umar (2004) to compare the
speech act performance of the Arab learners with the native speakers of English, the
researcher found that the Arab learners of English depend highly on their cultural
background when performing request. The researcher suggested that these learners need to
learn how to pragmatically differentiate between the English speech acts and Arabic speech
acts. They also need to learn that what fits in performing the speech acts in Arabic
language is not necessary fit in performing the speech acts in English language. Umar
(2004), however, conducted the study on the Arab Saudi context which might not be
enough to understand how Arab EFL learners perform various speech acts in a foreign
context such as the Malaysian one, and how do they do so in comparison to Malaysian ESL
learners. The present study, thus, hopes to contribute insights in this respect.
1.1.2
Use of hedges as speech act modifiers
The performance of the speech acts also involves using other linguistic devices called
‘hedges’. The main purpose of these devices is to achieve indirectness in speech through
attenuating the speech act they accompany. When accompanied with the speech acts,
hedges function as mitigators to the level of harshness and offensiveness imposed by
performing these acts on the hearer (Fraser, 2010). In other words, these devices are used to
make the speech act less direct, thus becomes more palatable and approved by the hearer.
In a study conducted by (Sattar et al., 2009), the researchers found that the Arab Iraqi EFL
learners use more conventional indirectness expressed by ‘can’ or ‘could’ to modify their
requests. The researchers concluded that these postgraduate students were still at lower
levels of using speech act modifiers at a larger scale. Another issue with using hedges is
that the Arab EFL learners lack the knowledge of using the hedges. Mukheef (2012)
examined the Iraqi EFL university students’ recognition and production of hedges. At the
recognition level, the Iraqi EFL learners’ performance was found far below the average. At
the production level, these learners were also found at very week level as they violated the
norms and rules of using hedges and depended highly on their native language. Although
there is an evidence of the weak performance in using hedges among Arab EFL learners,
still little is known about the use of these devices by the Malay ESL learners. It is therefore
timely to further extend the investigation to examine these learners’ use of hedges to have
comparable findings.
43
1.1.3
Pragmatic realization of politeness
The study of the speech acts whose job is to make use of words to do action (Austin, 1975)
along with the accompanied hedges used basically for attenuation purposes have been
further studied in relation to politeness. In their politeness theory, Brown and Levinson
(1987) viewed politeness as a powerful tool in linguistic expression. They argued that
human beings have a ‘face’ which can be enhanced or threatened, and any speech act has
the potential of threatening either the positive or negative face of the speaker or that of the
hearer. In the Arab learners’ contexts, some attempts were made to explore how these
learners express politeness. For example, Al-Qahtani (2009) compared the use of politeness
strategies realized by the speech act of offering between the spoken Saudi Arabic and the
spoken British English. The results showed that there were significant differences between
the two groups of speakers in expressing politeness in offers. There was also a varied effect
of contextual determinants on the use of politeness strategies. While no effect was found
for the power of the addressee, the social distance was found affecting the two groups. The
British female group displayed respect to the others’ social need in privacy as being
conventional indirect, whereas the Saudi female group showed higher inclination to
establishing solidarity. Nevertheless, little attention was given to compare the expression of
politeness between Arab EFL learners and Malaysian ESL learners.
1.1.4
WhatsApp as a mediated discourse
Previous research on the role of hedges in the realization of politeness was made at the
face-to-face encounter context. In such context, part of the learners’ linguistic and
pragmatic behaviors is analyzed depending on the visual and physical reactions of the
participants which might not reflect the actual use of hedges and the realization of
politeness. In the current study, the two groups of learners are classmates who know each
other. However, their communication is mediated by the WhatsApp application in which
they exchange the turns in a virtual space. Analyzing the hedges used in a mediated
discourse such as the WhatsApp application is still under investigation (Bouhnik &
Deshen, 2014; Plana et al., 2013; Salem, 2013). In such discourse, the visual and physical
factors can be eliminated and the focus of analysis will be more on the actual linguistic and
pragmatic performance of the participants.
1.2
Research Objectives and Questions
By having these two diverse cultural groups interacting together in one academic context,
this study attempted to examine how Malaysian ESL and Arab EFL learners communicate
their opinion while discussing a life issue in academic context using WhatsApp application.
It also attempts to find out the similarities and differences between these two cultural
groups of learners in performing speech acts, using hedges, and realizing politeness. This
will help understand the linguistic and pragmatic inclination of these learners and therefore
bridge the gap between these students while working together on their pair or group work
in the future. Based on these objectives, the following research questions guided the study:
1. What are the categories and frequencies of hedges used by Arab EFL learners and
Malay ESL learners to modify their opinion in their conversation on WhatsApp
messages?
44
2. What is the difference in the use of hedges as speech act modifiers between the
Malay and Arab learners in their conversation on WhatsApp messages?
3. What are the linguistic meaning and pragmatic realization of using hedges in the
Arab EFL learners and Malay ESL learners’ conversations on WhatsApp
messages?
2.0
Methodology
2.1
Research Design
This is a descriptive study that employed a pragmatic approach to analyze the data
collected by means of two group discussions created on the WhatsApp mobile application.
Both groups were asked to contribute to a discussion by stating their opinion towards a
topic titled ‘possible effects of using technology among young children’. To identify the
categories and subcategories of hedges, Fraser’s (2010) taxonomy of English hedges was
used (see Appendix A). Simple descriptive statistics test using Microsoft Excel were then
used to obtain the frequency and percentages of the occurrence of hedges. Based on the
findings of the descriptive statistics and the linguistic and pragmatic functions of the
discovered hedges, the data were analyzed and interpreted pragmatically based on Brown
and Levinson’s (1987) Politeness Strategies.
2.2.
Subjects
Two discussion groups of participants were created on the WhatsApp application. The total
number of the participants in the two groups was nine (n=9). The first group consisted of 5
Malaysian ESL postgraduate students who speak Malay as their first language. The
subjects in the second group were four (n=4) Arab EFL university learners whose first
language is Arabic. The ages of the subjects in the two groups range from (22-25).
2.3.
Data Analysis
In this study, Fraser’s (2010) Taxonomy of English Hedges was used to analyze the
categories and sub categories of hedges. According to the taxonomy, there are nineteen
categories of hedges. Fraser came up with this taxonomy after an extensive work on
reviewing the English hedges in the literature.
3.0
Findings and Discussion
The data in this study were collected by means of two focused group discussions created on
WhatsApp application. The following are the major findings and their related discussion.
3.1
Types and frequency of hedges: Arab student’s group
The total number of exchanges to the discussion topic among the Arab students was
seventy (n=70) which varied in length and number of ideas and expressed opinions. The
total number of hedges identified in the students’ comments was fifty-one (n=51) which
were classified under 12 linguistic categories. Out of this total, (67%) were found matching
Fraser’s (2010) English Hedges (see Table 1-Appendix B). The most frequent type of
hedges found according to the taxonomy is the ‘metalinguistic comment’ (16%). The
45
subjects mainly used lexical hedges like ‘Yes’, ‘right’, ‘Ahhh, yes’, ‘right’, and ‘of course’
to show agreement. The modal verbs used in positive forms such as ‘can’, ‘need to’,
‘would’, ‘will’, and ‘could’ were found less frequently occurring (14%) than metalinguistic
comment and came in the second position of the used hedges. However, these modal verbs
were also used in forms of questions (4%) such as in ‘Do we have to…?’, ‘Would you…?’,
or ‘Can you…?’ The syntactic Conditional clause, which has ‘if’ in its basic structure,
came in the third place scoring (8 %) of the total occurrences of hedges in the discussion.
With the same frequency, the syntactic introductory phrases (8%) were also found used by
the subjects through expressions such as ‘I think’, ‘I feel’, and ‘I see’. Agentless passive is
also another syntactic structure found used by the subjects (4%). This kind of passive was
used without its agent after the preposition ‘by’. Although Fraser’s (2010) taxonomy of
English Hedges covered 19 categories of hedges, it was not enough to cover all the hedges
used by the Arab EFL learners. 6 new categories and 18 hedges were found and added to
the taxonomy (see Table 2-Appendix B). The newly discovered hedges formed 33 % of
total found hedges. The new devices included mainly the use of reinforces such as ‘of
course’, ‘sure’, ‘really’, ‘entirely’, ‘definitely’, ‘entirely’, ‘completely’, ‘very’, ‘big’,
‘always’, and ‘so’.
3.2
Types and frequency of hedges: Malaysian student’s group
The Malay ESL students in their discussion on WhatsApp were also allowed to respond
freely for two hours to the same discussion topic. However, the total number of responses
to this topic was one hundred eighty-seven (n=187) responses which is more than the
responses produce by the Arabs. The responses varied in length and number of ideas and
expressed opinion. The total number of hedges identified in the students’ comments was
ninety-eight (n=98) which were classified under 14 linguistic categories. Out of total
number of the identified hedges, (87%) were found matching Fraser’s (2010) English
Hedges (see Table 3-Appendix B). The most frequent type of hedges according to the
taxonomy is the use of the ‘modal verbs in positive forms’ (28%) such as ‘will’, ‘would’,
‘can, ‘may’, ‘might’, ‘need to’, and ‘have to’. These hedges were used in the active voice
to refer to future actions, preference, ability, probability, necessity and obligations. Another
type found frequently occurring in the collected data (13%) is the use of metalinguistic
comments such as ‘let's’, ‘just’, ‘exactly’, ‘right’, ‘as we can see’, ‘almost’. Agentless
passive came in the third position (9%) using passive construction with mentioning the
agent after the preposition ‘by’. With a less rate (8%), the learners used the agentless
passive construction. The found hedges in this section were all based on Fraser’s (2010)
taxonomy of English Hedges. However, other three categories of hedges formed (13 %) of
the total were not based on this taxonomy (see Table 4-Appendix B). The most found
occurring hedge (7%) was the use of the personalized forms ‘in my opinion’ ‘for me’, ‘it
seems to me’. The discourse marker hedge ‘actually’ (5%) was also found used by the
learners. Although the devices discovered only formed 13 % of the whole corpus,
considering them was important to understand what types of hedges the Malay students
usually prefer to use when stating their opinion.
46
3.3
Discussion of the similarities and differences in the types and
frequency of hedges between Arab and Malaysian learners
As it can be noticed from the findings above, the Arab EFL learners in their discussion
about the same topic used similar categories of hedges to those used by the Malaysian
students (see Table 5-Appendix C). For example, they both used metalinguistic comments,
modal verbs in positive forms, conditional clauses, introductory phrases, agentless
passives, modal verbs in question forms, modal adverbs, and progressive form of tenses.
Although they shared the selection of the categories, they used almost different types
within each category. For instance, the Arab learners used only three types of
metalinguistic comments out of 12 hedges while 6 types of this category out of 13 hedges
were used by the Malay group of learners. This indicated a high degree of repetition in the
use of these hedges among the Arab group. It also indicated that although the awareness of
using this type of lexical devices is available in the lexicon repertoire of Arab students,
Malay students have more storage of these devices. Another example of this case is the use
of modal verbs in positive form. It was found that the Malaysian students outweighed the
Arab students in both the frequency and the types under this category using almost the
double amount of hedges (27-14). Moreover, 7 types of modal verbs were used in
comparison to 5 used by the Arabs. This also indicates the likeliness of limited lexicon
storage of these devices among the Arab students. These cases were repeated over the use
of agentless passive and progressive forms with more frequent use of these hedges and a
difference in the variety of lexical device. Meanwhile, the Arab EFL learners outweighed
their Malay ESL counterparts in the frequency and device type for certain hedges
categories and types. For example, The Arab learners group used the conditional clauses
with ‘if’ six times more than the Malaysian learners. They also used the modal verbs in
question forms four times more than their Malay counterparts. These two results indicated
that the Arabs are likely to use these hedges more to express uncertainty. Another aspect of
similarity between the two groups was in the newly discovered categories (see Table 6Appendix C). For example, both groups of learners used the personalized form ‘in my
opinion’ and the discourse marker ‘actually’. Although they used the same category, there
was a difference in the amount of hedges in each category. The Arab learners used ‘in my
opinion’ twice more than the Malay students while they used almost the same low amount
of the discourse marker ‘actually’.
On the other hand, the analysis showed that the two groups did not share certain
categories at all. While the Arab EFL learners used categories like collective quantifier,
collective possessive pronoun, collective pronoun, reversal tags, boosters, giving
clarification to repair the talk, vague expressions, and plausibility shields, the Malaysian
ESL learners did not use any of them at all (see Table 7-Appendix C). Eight categories in
total as proposed by Fraser (2010) were not used by the Malaysian subjects indicating that
these categories did not exist in the lexicon storage of the Malay leaners in similar situation
or context.
The Malay EFL learners also used a number of categories such as the
modal verbs in negative forms, concessive conjunctions, tentative inference, conditional
subordinators, negation gives the meaning of latter, and modal nouns while the Arab EFL
learners entirely avoided these categories along with their devices (see Table 8-Appendix
C). Six categories in total as proposed by Fraser (2010) were not used by the Arab subjects
47
indicating that these categories did not exist in the lexicon storage of the Arab learners in
similar situation.
3.4
Pragmatic analysis of hedges: Malaysian learners’ group
Use of modal verbs in positive form (will, would, can, may, might, have to)
Modal verbs are as set of words that are used with main verbs and add extra sense to their
original meaning. For example, the linguistic use of ‘will’ is to refer to the future tense and
to show a kind of prediction or uncertainty of the action, the use of ‘may’ is to add a sense
of probability, the use of ‘have to’ is to give a degree of obligation, and so on.
Pragmatically, the use of these devices is to show epistemic modality. In other words these
devices are used to show uncertainty or lack of full commitment of the act being asserted or
performed (Brown & Levinson, 1987; Frazer, 2010). In this group discussion, the use of
modals (e.g., will, would, can, may, might, need to, and have to) was found occurring the
highest. In Example (1) below, the subject is discussing one aspect of the drawbacks of
new technology. He states his opinion by performing a representative kind of speech acts.
He thinks that the use of credit cards for personal money transactions might cause or lead
to other problems. As the learner believes, using a credit card as a form of new
technologies might give a chance to imposters to steal the personal information and use
them for their own illegal way to gain money. To avoid imposing his opinion on other
participants in the discussion group and to save their positive face, the subject showed a
kind of uncertainty towards his opinion. By using the hedge device ‘may’ as a modal in
positive form, the speaker in fact used as a positive politeness strategy by attenuating the
force of his opinion to save the positive face of the other group members.
[1] Another example that we can see is when we do online transactions. Impostors
may steal your credit card information and use them for their own monetary gain
Use of metalinguistic comment (let's, just, exactly, right, as we can see)
The use of metalinguistic comments is to give guidance to the hearer to help him or her to
better interpret the opinion being communicated. These comments are considered hedges
by Fraser (2010) as they are forms of mitigated speech which is less offensive and
imposing. The occurrence of these comments in the talk of the Malay learners came in the
second position which means that these expressions are frequently used. In example (2)
below, the subject is concluding that the ‘all’ the technologies have impacted people in
modern age. The metalinguistic comment ‘as we can see’ was used by the speaker to guide
the other group members to agree with him on his final conclusion and accept his
generalization of such great influence of new technologies. The use of this kind of hedge
pragmatically minimized the imposition degree on the positive face of the hearers because
the opinion is communicated indirectly and also because a sense of empowerment was
created, thus a positive politeness strategy is realized.
[2] Well as we can see, all these technologies in the modern era are more impactful
and influential than ever.
48
Use of Agentless passive
The use of passivation itself is considered a kind of indirect reporting of events. This is
usually made by moving the direct object to the front of the sentence in a process known as
‘frontation’. This process is usually made to put emphasis on the topic and less or no
emphasis on the agent which is usually left out. Leaving out the agent in constructing the
passivation is called linguistically agentless passive. The use of this type of syntactic
construction came at the third position of the most occurring hedges in the Malay group
discussion. In example (3) below, the subject is blaming new technologies of hindering the
development of young generation. She seems not caring of who invented them and focuses
only on them as a concept or topic, thus she left the agent out. By removing the agent, the
subject does not commit herself to accusing certain inventors or the people who cause
damage to the new generation. By doing so, she showed lack of commitment to the force of
her opinion, so it can be received positively by other participants in the discussion, thus
expressed positive politeness strategy.
[3] With the new technology, our young generation will not develop much because
everything was invented.
Use of Introductory phrases (I think, I feel, I guess)
Using introductory phrases like ‘I think’, I feel’, or ‘I guess’ in stating opinion act has
occurred in the Malaysia ESL learners’ group in a moderate frequency. These expressions
or phrases are usually used to preface the opinion proposed by the language users. When
used by subjects, these words express lack of commitment or relate doubt to the proposed
opinion. In example (4) below, the subject is proposing that parents’ roles are principal and
that they carry the responsibility of monitoring their children. To avoid placing much
imposition on the other group members and to communicate her opinion in rather a delicate
and softened way, the subject uses the introductory phrase ‘I think’ before stating her
opinion. By using this phrase, she pragmatically saves the positive face of her classmates,
thus employs a positive politeness strategy. This includes showing respect to their selfimage or their desire that their self-image or respect is maintained (Brown & Levinson,
1987).
[4] I think parents needs to monitor their kids of whatever they are doing.
3.5
Pragmatic analysis of hedges: Arab learners’ group
As previously explained, hedges are generally used in language as linguistic tools to
modify the meaning of words they accompany to leave a mitigating effect on the force of
these words on the hearer or addressee (Fraser, 2010). It was also explained that two main
functions can be achieved by using these hedges, one is linguistic and another one is
pragmatic. The linguistic one is considered when one wants to know the changes taken
place to the semantic meaning of the locution of the speech act. The pragmatic function is
considered when one is interested on knowing the effect on the hearer in certain social
context. Both of these functions were found achieved in the discussion of the Arab EFL
49
learners in this study. The following is a detailed analysis to five most occurring hedges
with examples taken from the corpus collected from these learners’ data.
Use of Metalinguistic Comment (let's, just, exactly, right, as we can see)
Metalinguistic comments are expressions used by speakers to give guidance to their hearers
so they better interpret the what ideas or opinions being communicated. These types of
expressions were considered belonging to on category of hedges by Fraser (2010) as they
pragmatically behave like mitigators to the force of speech to become less offensive and
imposing. The occurrence of these comments in the talk of the Arab EFL learners in this
study came in the first place indicating means that these expressions are the most
frequently used types of hedges. In example (5) below, the subject prefaced his opinion by
using the metalinguistic comment ‘I totally agree with you’. The use of this hedge prepared
the addressee to receive the opinion that was coming next which typically conformed to
what he already agreed upon. It also encouraged the group members to accept the
modification made to the confirmed opinion said in previous turn. The use of this kind of
hedge was mainly to show agreement and follow up with hearer's previous talk.
Pragmatically, the speaker made use of the previous opinion for his favor to communicate
his in a low degree of imposition on the hearer. In other words, the metalinguistic comment
paved the way and prepared the listener to accept the proposed opinion willingly, thus the
imposition degree on the positive listener’s face was minimized. This indirect and sharing
way of communicating opinion is considered positive politeness strategy according to
Brown and Levinson (1987).
[5] I totally agree with you. Our way of using these invitations can determine if the
impact will be negative or positive
Use of Positive Modal Verbs (will, would, can, may, might, have to)
The use of modal verbs in positive forms linguistically add extra sense to the meaning of
the main verb they accompany. By using ‘can’, for example, a reference to the ability of
the speaker or listener is created, by using ‘would’ as a modal verb in if-clause
constructions, a sense of imaginative preference is added to the main verb, and so on. In
this group discussion, the use of modals (e.g., will, would, can, may, might, need to, have
to) was found occurring the highest. Pragmatically, the use of these devices was found
mitigating the force of the speech act of opinion being performed. In other words these
devices were used to show a kind of epistemic modality or uncertainty towards the act
being communicated (Brown & Levinson, 1987; Frazer, 2010). In Example (6) below, the
subject is giving conditioned solution to controlling the side effect of using mobiles and
iPads among children. The subject suggests allowing children to use these technologies
providing that their use is monitored by their parents. The use of the modal ‘would’ in such
conditional structure indicates the intent of the speaker to minimize the imposition on the
hearers to accept her suggestion. However, in the same example, it can be noticed that the
speaker used two contradictory pragmatic devices. The first one is the modal which is
previously discussed and the second one is the booster ‘definitely’. While the former had
minimized effect of the force of act, the latter has enforced the effect of the act. This
50
confusion makes it difficult to decide whether the subject wanted to show politeness or
something else or it is just pragmatic failure something.
[6] It depends. If children were given mobiles and ipads with monitoring it would
definitely have positive effects.
Use of Booster (of course, really, entirely, definitely, entirely, etc.)
While hedges like ‘I think’ imply low levels of certainty to mitigate the force of the
propositions, we can say that boosters like ‘really’ imply the highest level of certainty for
reinforcement purposes. Hyland and Tse (2004) who studied metadiscourse markers in
academic writing maintained that boosters add certainty to the utterances and emphasize
the force of propositions. In other words, hedges were used by the subjects in this study to
communicate their confidence level over their opinion. In example (7), the use of ‘really’
which belongs to boosting category is less enforcing than ‘completely’ or ‘entirely’ in
examples (8) and (9). The use of ‘actually’ at the beginning of the sentence in (7) indicates
a hesitation that carries the meaning of uncertainty of hedging. However, the use of ‘really’
by the subject in the same sentence indicates a higher level of reinforcement which
contradicts the use of ‘actually’. This indicates that ‘actually’ is at the lower edge of
certainty and ‘really’ is in the higher edge of certainty. The subject in (7) is in fact stating
her opinion with hesitation suggesting both the positive and negative aspects of the new
technologies influence on young generations. In example (8), the subject explicitly claims
that new technologies have one hundred percent effect on people. This full commitment by
the subject in (8) towards his opinion has been supported with a similar word ‘entirely’ by
another subject in (9). Both ‘completely’ and ‘entirely’ served as high levels of certainty
and commitment to the stated opinion. Pragmatically speaking, any level of certainty that
reinforce the speech like in (7-9) is considered by Brown and Levinson (1987) a face
threatening act and cannot be in any case considered politeness strategies. When these
words are used by the speakers, they impose on the positive face of the hearer as little or no
options were given to the hearer. The only option available to the hearer is to accept or
disagree with the speaker changing stating opinion to argumentation. Notice the reply in
(10-b) when another subject found it very difficult to say ‘entirely’ by opening the options
again using ‘it depends’.
[7] Actually the positive and negative impact is really needed to be considered.
[8] It makes a person dependent completely on these technologies.
[9] A. It makes a person dependent entirely on it.
B. It depends. If the children were given mobiles and ipads with monitoring, it
would definitely have positive effects.
Interesting to say that unlike the Malay ESL learners, who did not use any booster in this
study, the Arab EFL learners used boosters very often indicating high levels of
commitment to their opinion, and at the same time higher levels of directness.
51
Use of Introductory phrases (I think, I feel, I see)
The Arab EFL learners used phrases like ‘I think’, I believe’, and ‘I see’ in stating their
opinion which are kinds of introductory phases. The occurrences of these phrases were
found lower than metalinguistic comments, modal verbs and boosters. As explained earlier,
these expressions or phrases are usually used to preface the opinion proposed by the
language users. When used by subjects, these words also express lack of commitment or
relate doubt to the proposed opinion. In example (10) below, the subject is talking about
one aspect of bad influence of new technologies. She claims that because of these
technologies, her children display a kind of attention loss. As she is not sure of the analogy
of this medical case, she used the introductory phrase ‘I feel that’ to mitigate her opinion or
assertion. The use of this kind of hedge serves to communicate her opinion or claim
without much certainty of commitment. By doing so, she avoids placing much imposition
on the other group members. Pragmatically, the use of this phrase saves the positive face of
her classmates, thus employs a positive politeness strategy. This includes showing respect
to their self-image or their desire that their self-image or respect is maintained (Brown &
Levinson, 1987).
[10] But sometimes I feel that they even can't focus when I am speaking with them.
My older son doesn't like to go out because he is fond of playing games
3.5 Conclusion
The Malay ESL and Arab EFL learners were asked to discuss about the impact of new
technologies on young generations. The main speech act performed was the act of stating
opinion. In previous sections, the types and frequency of hedges were reported and
discussed showing the similarities and differences between the two groups of learners.
Pragmatic functions of the most frequent hedges used by the two groups were also
analyzed and illustrated with examples taken from the collected corpus. The findings of the
analysis showed that the subjects in the Malay group used almost seventeen categories of
hedges to modify their opinion with various types of hedges in each category and with
various frequency of use. As explained in the pragmatic analysis section, the common
linguistic strategies achieved by using these devices was showing uncertainty, doubt and
lack of commitment to the proposition content of the subjects’ utterances. The use of these
linguistic strategies pragmatically realized through achieving levels of attenuation or
mitigation to the force of the speech act of opinion. By employing these devices in their
speech, the Malay group members demonstrated their ability in showing positive politeness
as the faces of the other group members were saved and respected. It can be concluded that
the Malay learners in this study were inclined to be more indirect especially when stating
their opinion using a variety of linguistic and pragmatic hedges.
In the Arab EFL learners’ group discussion, who were asked to discuss about the
same topic, the subjects used almost eighteen categories of hedges to modify their opinion
with various types and degrees in each category and with various frequency of use. The
findings showed that the common linguistic strategies achieved by using these devices was
showing uncertainty, doubt and lack of commitment to the proposition content of the
subjects’ utterances. The use of these linguistic strategies pragmatically realized through
achieving other pragmatic functions ranged from showing high degrees of certainty and
52
reinforcement by boosting the force of opinion to low levels of certainty by attenuating the
force of opinion using hedges. By employing these contradictory devices in their speech,
the Arab group members demonstrated their ability in showing positive politeness as the
faces of the other group members were saved and respected. However, it has been noticed
that the Arab EFL learners have also problematic issues in mixing hedges with boosters in
the same sentence which made it difficult to come at a final conclusion of the pragmatic
realization of their talk. The reason of this phenomenon can be attributed, to some extent,
to their linguistic competence levels which was not considered in this study. It can be
concluded that the Arab learners in this study were inclined to be indirect using a number
of hedges. Meanwhile, they displayed confidence and high levels of self-belief in stating
their opinions.
53
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55
Appendices
Appendix A
Taxonomy of English Hedges
Fraser (2010)
Hedge Category
1. Adverbs/Adjectives
Hedging Devices
2. Impersonal pronouns
approximately, roughly,
generally... ,
one, it ... ,
about, often,
occasionally,
3. Concessive conjunctions
although, though, while, whereas, even though, even if... ,
4. Hedged performative
use of modal to hedge performative verb
5. Indirect Speech Acts
6. Introductory phrases
I believe, to our knowledge, it is our view that, we feel that...
7. Modal adverbs
8. Modal adjectives
perhaps, possibly, probably, practically, presumably,
apparently... ,
possible, probable, un/likely... ,
9. Modal noun
assumption, claim, possibility, estimate, suggestion
10. Modal verbs
might, can, would, could…
11. Epistemic verbs
to seem, to appear, to believe, to assume, to suggest…
12. Reversal tag
13. Agentless Passive
14. Conditional subordinators
as long as, so long as, assuming that, given that
15. Progressive form
16. Tentative Inference
17. Conditional clause refers to the condition
under which the speaker makes the
utterance.
18. Metalinguistic comment such as
strictly speaking, so to say, exactly, almost, just about
19. Negative question convey positive hedged
assertion
Note. This table is designed based on Fraser’s (2010) proposed list of English Hedges
56
Appendix B
Table 1: Types and Frequency of Hedges – Arab Student’s Group
Hedge Type
Hedge Linguistic Category
Yes, right, Ahhh, yes, right, of course
can, need to, would, will, could
If-clause
I think, I feel, I see
Passive construction
we
Do we have to? Would you, Can you?
all
our
maybe
You're + Ving
…right?
metalinguistic comment
Modal verb in positive form
Conditional clause
Introductory phrases
Agentless passive
collective pronoun
Modal verb in question form
collective quantifier
collective possessive pronoun
Modal adverb
Progressive form
Reversal tag
Total
Frequency
Percentage
12
11
6
6
3
3
3
2
2
1
1
1
51
16%
14%
8%
8%
4%
4%
4%
3%
3%
1%
1%
1%
67%
Table 2: Types and Frequency of New Hedges – Arab Student’s Group
Hedge Type
of course, Sure, really, entirely, definitely,
entirely, completely, very, big, always, so
In my opinion
actually
I mean
some, long + N
according to my / X
Total
Linguistic Category
booster
Personalized forms
Discourse marker
giving clarification
(repair)
vague expressions
Plausibility shield
Frequency
11
Percentage
14%
4
3
3
5%
4%
4%
2
2
25
3%
3%
33%
57
Table 3: Types and Frequency of Hedges – Malay Student’s Group
Hedge Type
(will, would, can, may, might,
need to, have to)
(let's, just, exactly, right, as we
can see, almost)
(was invented)
(I think, I feel, I guess)
(I'm, He's, it's, We're + Ving)
(won't, can't, may not)
(though ,even though)
(should, shouldn't)
(Unless, as long as)
(I don't think/I can't imagine)
(maybe)
(If-clause)
(can you)
(There's always a possibility)
Linguistic Category
Modal verbs in positive form
Frequency
27
Percentage
28%
Metalinguistic comment
13
13%
Agentless passive
Introductory phrases
Progressive form
Modal verbs in negative form
Concessive conjunctions
Tentative Inference
Conditional subordinators
Negation gives the meaning of latter
Modal adverb
Conditional clause
Modal verbs in questions
Modal Noun
Total
9
8
6
5
4
4
2
2
2
1
1
1
85
9%
8%
6%
5%
4%
4%
2%
2%
2%
1%
1%
1%
87%
Table 4: Types and Frequency of New Hedges – Malay Student’s Group
Hedge Type
(In my opinion, For me, it
seems to me)
(actually)
(may appear)
Linguistic Category
Personalized form
Sources
New
Frequency
7
Percentage
7%
Discourse marker
Modal with hedging
verb
New
New
5
1
5%
1%
Total
13
13%
58
Appendix C
Table 5: Similarities in Hedges Categories between Malay and Arab Groups
Arab EFL Learners
Linguistic Category Frequency Percentage
metalinguistic
12
16%
comment
Modal verb in
11
14%
positive form
Conditional clause
6
8%
Introductory
6
8%
phrases
Agentless passive
3
4%
Malay ESL Learners
Linguistic Category Frequency Percentage
Metalinguistic
13
13%
comment
Modal verbs in
27
28%
positive form
Conditional clause
1
1%
Introductory phrases
8
8%
Agentless passive
9
9%
1
1%
2
2%
6
6%
Modal verb in
question form
Modal adverb
3
4%
1
1%
Modal verbs in
questions
Modal adverb
Progressive form
1
1%
Progressive form
Table 6: Similarities in New Hedges Categories between Malay and Arab Groups
Arab EFL Learners
Malay ESL Learners
Linguistic Category
Freq.
Percent.
Personalized forms
Discourse marker
11
3
14%
4%
Linguistic Category
Personalized form
Discourse marker
Freq.
7
5
Percent.
7%
5%
59
Table 7: Differences in Hedges Categories between Malay and Arab Groups
Arab EFL Learners
Hedge Type
Hedge Linguistic Category
all
collective quantifier
our
collective possessive pronoun
we
collective pronoun
…right?
Reversal tag
of course, Sure, really, entirely,
definitely, entirely, completely, very, Booster
big, always, so
I mean
giving clarification (repair)
some, long + N
vague expressions
according to my / X
Plausibility shield
Note. Hedges use only by the Arab Learners
Freq.
Percent.
2
2
3
1
3%
3%
4%
1%
4
5%
3
2
2
4%
3%
3%
Freq.
Percent.
5
4
4
2
2
1
5%
4%
4%
2%
2%
1%
Table 8: Difference in Hedges Categories between Malay and Arab Groups
Malay ESL Learners
Hedge Type
Hedge Linguistic Category
(won't, can't, may not)
Modal verbs in negative form
(though ,even though)
Concessive conjunctions
(should, shouldn't)
Tentative Inference
(Unless, as long as)
Conditional subordinators
(I don't think/I can't imagine)
Negation gives the meaning of latter
(There's always a possibility)
Modal Noun
Note. Hedges use only by the Malaysian Learners
60
A Discoursal Approach on Assessment of Persian Literary
Translation, A Case of The Gambler
Amin Amirdabbaghian1
1
University of Malaya, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
The role of discourse and discoursal elements in the formation of any text is very
important. Many scholars have carried out studies related to the issue. Transferring these
elements from one language to another is such a great work that translators find it difficult
to render and transfer the elements completely. The lack of perfect knowledge of the
discoursal issues and other contextual elements of a text leads to some misunderstandings
and mistranslations. Translators often resort to adaptation in order to deal with the SL
situations that do not exist in the TL but in this process some discoursal and contextual
elements of the ST could not be transferred. It could be claim that a nation’s literature is a
part of its discourse and cultural elements are embedded in the literature. In this study, the
purposefully selected parts of “The Gambler” by “Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky” were
compared with its English translations by Saleh Hosseyni to find out whether the discourse
and other contextual elements of the ST have been considered in the process of translation.
Keywords: Discourse Analysis, Translation Studies, Literary Translation
Biodata: Amin AmirDabbaghian received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in English
Translation Studies from University College of Nabi Akram (PBUH) and East Azarbaijan
Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran in 2011 and 2013,
respectively. Now, he is a PhD candidate in Translation Studies in University of Malaya,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
1.0
Introduction
In the world of literature every nation has its own poems, novels, fables and other written
masterpieces which inevitably reflect the discourse, ideology and cultures of that nation.
Having subtle look or it is better to say having critical view towards these masterpieces
reveals some facts either of different discourse or mere characteristics of the author or poet.
Meanwhile the Russian literature is not the exception. Regarding the Russian
literature, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky is considered as one of two greatest prose
writers of Russian literature, alongside close contemporary Leo Tolstoy. Dostoevsky’s
works have a deep and lasting effect on twentieth-century thought and world literature. His
chief works, mainly novels, explore the human psychology in the disturbing political,
social and spiritual context of his 19th-century Russian society. The Gambler is a short
61
novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly
wealthy Russian general. The work reflects his addiction to roulette.
The translator is supposed to translate the ideas of the ST author that were written
in another language. This act might be convincing, but one must bear in mind the fact that
translation is a process of decoding and recoding, or analysis and restructuring, during
which the translator tries to reach the author’s ideas before putting them into words. This,
in turn, implies the transfer, consciously or unconsciously, of the author’s discourse which
carries his ideology, cultural and social attitudes to the target text readers and this discourse
may or may not be the author’s discourse.
During this transfer and regarding the issue of discourse which carries ideology,
cultural and social attitudes of the author, the intended meaning of the original author/poet
sometimes distorted or altered due to some factors such as limitation of translator
knowledge, unfamiliarity of the discourse of author, ideology, ST culture, different stances
of the author/poet and translator and also being in different time-era with author. This study
tries to assess the translator’s intervention or manipulation in the translated text. The
discourse analysis, nowadays, has brought into the field of translation studies and has
become one of the crucial factors which influence the translation systematically.
1.1
Statement of the Problem
The problem is that sometimes in translation process, discoursal factors, textual elements
and culture-specific concepts are inverted and distorted due to the translator’s unfamiliarity
with the source text; therefore, the intended meaning of the original author is changed or
lost.
1.2
Research Questions
Many considerable questions could be raised considering this study but researcher asks
herself a few questions which are common in literary translation. The questions are:
1. Does the translator need to understand the discourse of the original author in order
to achieve a successful translation?
2. Is it necessary to analyze the discourse and textual elements before starting the
process of translation?
The researcher tries to answer these questions through the analysis of discourse and
textual elements by using some samples which collected purposefully.
2.0
Review of Related Literature
In this part, the research may define and elaborate some key notions related in the subject
matter.
2.1
Literary Translation
Baker & Saldanha (1998) mantioned the second approach to literary translation as a
process is more theory-driven and maybe termed cognitive-pragmatic. The analysis of
62
literary translation processes here maybe informed by literary cognitive stylistics and the
pragmatics of translation (e.g. Kwan-Terry 1992; Hickery 1998; Gutt 1991/2000;
Pilkington 2000; Stockwell 2002a). These studies attempt to model communication
between source writer, translator-as-reader, translator-as-writer and target reader. (p. 154)
Toury’s (1980) distinction rests on his view, derived from Yury Lotman and,
beyond him, Roman Jakobson and the Russian Formalists, that literature is characterized
by the presence of a secondary, literary code superimposed on a stratum of unmarked
language. (pp. 36-7)
Susan Bassnett in Routledge (2002) points out:
Within the field of literary translation, more time has been devoted to
investigating the problems of translating poetry than any other literary mode. Many of the
studies purporting to investigate these problems are either evaluations of different
translations of a single work or personal statements by individual translators on how they
have set about solving problems. Rarely do studies of poetry and translation tries to discuss
methodological problems from a non-empirical position, and yet it is precisely that type of
study that is most valuable and most needed. (p. 68)
One such model has been proposed by Toury (1980, 1995) for both literary
translation and for translation in general, based on the concept of Norms which is borrowed
from sociolinguistics and the social sciences. This model is an extension of Polysystem
Theory, as elaborated by Even-Zohar (1978a). Polysystem Theory and by extension
Toury’s model, assumes that translations never function as totally independent texts and
that translators always belong in one way or another to a literary and/or cultural
environment, even if this environment is geographically remote form their place of
residence. Within this functional research paradigm, then, it is assumed that all translation
activity (whether it involves producing, using or commenting on translations) is guided and
shaped by such things as the norms, value scales and models which are prevalent in a given
society at a given moment in time. The study of literary translation therefore consists of the
study of translation norms, models and traditions. (pp. 131-2)
2.2
Discourse Analysis
Discourse is a form of “social practice” implies a dialectical relationship between a
particular discursive event and the situation(s), institutional(s) and social structure(s) which
frame it. The discursive event is shaped by them, but it also shapes them. (Fairclough and
Wodak,1997,p.258)
In the latter view, the interdisciplinary framework of critical discourse analysis
(CDA) – including Fairclough’s deployment of social theory and intertextuality in the
illumination of discourse practice (1992, 1995a, 1995b), Fowler’s critical scan of social
practice and language in the news (1991), and van Dijk’s work on the relation of societal
structures and discourse structures.
63
2.3.
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky
He was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher.
Dostoyevsky’s literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social,
and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. Many of his works are marked by a
preoccupation with Christianity, explored through the prism of the individual confronted
with life’s hardships and beauty.
2.3.1. The Gambler
The Gambler is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the
employment of a formerly wealthy Russian general. The novella reflects Dostoyevsky’s
own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book:
Dostoyevsky completed the novella under a strict deadline to pay off gambling debts.
2.4
Saleh Hosseini
Saleh Hosseini (born 1946), from Songhor, Kermanshah Province, Iran is a professor of
literature, translator and critic.
Sayeed Saleh Hosseini has a PhD in English from Washington University,
Seattle in the United States. He is currently retired after teaching for more than three
decades at the College of Humanities and Literature at Shahid Chamran University of
Ahvaz but is active in teaching English literature at Jahad Daneshgahi University in the city
of Ahvaz. Having completed his tertiary education in his hometown, he continued his
education at Shiraz University in Iran where he graduated with an M.A in English
literature. Then he went to the United States, earning a PhD degree in English literature at
Washington University, after which he came back to Iran in 1979. He was acclaimed by the
Iranian Ministry of Culture and Guidance as the leading translator and critic of the year in
1997.
3.0
Methodology
According to the Williams & Chesterman (2002), the goal of qualitative research is:
To describe the quality of something in some enlightening way. The method can
lead to conclusions about what is possible, what can happen, or what can happen
at least sometimes; it does not allow conclusions about what is probable, general
or universal. (p. 64)
Qualitative research employed for the present study, is concerned with nonstatistical methods of inquiry and analysis of social phenomena. It draws on an inductive
process in which themes and categories emerge through analysis of data collected. Samples
are usually small and are often purposively selected. The researcher using this method, is
focused on the difficulties and problems which translator faced and different strategies
which used due to the ideological/theosophical gap.
64
3.1
Restatement of Research Questions
Many considerable questions could be raised considering this study but researcher asks
herself a few questions which are common in literary translation. The questions are:
1. Does the translator need to understand the discourse of the original author in
order to achieve a successful translation?
2. Is it necessary to 65nalyse the discourse and textual elements before starting the
process of translation?
The researcher tries to answer these questions through the analytical study using
some samples which collected randomly.
3.2
Design
Since the present study aims to investigate the discoursal approach of the translators in the
literary works it can be claimed that the most suitable research method for reaching the
supposed goal of this study is qualitative method, which the researcher tries to associate
with. Therefore, the study demands a well-established explanation on the issue and precise
comparison of the selected scripts from corpuses; i.e. the Gambeler by Dostoyevsky and its
persian translation by Salleh Hosseini.
Based on firm theoretical background and logical discussions, some certain parts
of the original novel (in English) has selected and its translations will be analysed
regarding the discourse in order to see how and to what extend a certain meaning of the
text could change the direction of translation process and the process of conveying the
message.
3.3
Corpus
For the present study, as mentioned above, the researcher has selected different parts of the
“Gambler” by Dostoevski and its persian translation by Saleh Hosseyni as the corpus. The
corpus of this study as mentioned consists of certain parts of the “Gambler” by Dostoevski
and its Persian translation by Saleh Hosseyni which selected purposefully and its
translation extracted from the abovementioned corpuses; and they discussed in a
contrastive analytical manner, i.e. discourse analysis.
3.4
Procedure
In the following part, the overtly erroneous errors (House, 1977, 54) are dealt with. Overtly
erroneous errors are categorized into three categories: 1) Under Translation; 2) over
translation and 3) Distortion of Meaning and also the translated text discussed in discourse
level.
In this process, first, the original text is written. Second, the translation of the text
is written under the original text. The reseacher applied the above mentioned three
categoties then the researcher analyzed the original text and translation in the discourse
level.
65
4.0
Data Analysis and Discussion
The researcher analyzed the original and translated texts regarding their different
discourses that have crucial role in conveying the message, which has been the main idea
of the author. Two texts in the textual level and second disscuse all problem in the
discoursal level. In this process the researcher first analyzed, first the original sentences are
written and the Persian translations are written respectively. At the textual level researcher
is dealing with three points i.e. 1) under translation, 2) over translation and 3) distortion of
meaning. Then the researcher analyzed the original and translated texts in the discourse
level.
4.1
Sample One:
4.1.1. Original Sentence:
It will be case of fare well, Mlle Blance, “I remarked”; for in such an event she would
never become Madame General. Do you know?, I believe the old man is so much in love
with her that he will shoot himself if she should throw him over. At his age it is a
dangerous thing to fall in love. (p. 44)
4.1.2. Persian Translation
‫ مادموازل بالنش را بگو که دیگر زن ژنرال منیشود! آخر به نظر‬:‫گفتم‬
‫من ژنرال به قدری دلباخته اش است که اگر سرکار علیه رهایش کند‬
‫آن هم در سن وسال او‬،‫این جوری عاشق شدن‬.‫خود را به تیر میزند‬
)45 ‫ (ص‬.‫خطرناک است‬
4.1.3. Discussion at Texual Level:
4.1.3.1. Under Translation:
The translator has not translated the sentence “It will be case of fare well” and has not
mentioned. The sentence means, ‫“این مورد باعث جدایی مادموازل بالنش‬
"‫خواهد شد‬. Translator again has not translated the phrase, “for in such an event” which
means, “‫ ”به خاطر ابن که در چنین مواقعی‬Translator also has not translated the
interrogative sentence ‘Do you know?’, and omitted completely.
4.1.3.2. Over Translation:
Translator added the element “‫ ”آخر‬and also added the element “‫ ”آن هم‬in the translated
version which does not exist in the original piece.
4.1.3.3. Distortion of Meaning
Translator translated the phrase “I believe the old man” to “‫”آخر به نظر من ژنرال‬,
and also the sentence “he will shoot himself” to “‫ ”خود را به تیر میزند‬which
according to the Cambridge dictionary (2008), the meaning of the original sentence is “to
kill somebody” which is translator has not recognized and result in distortion of meaning.
4.1.4. Discussion at Discourse Level:
What is notable in this part is that the translator is dealt with translation only at the word
level. The original text is written in formal language but the translator has not recognized
the point. He translated some part of the text in formal language and then moved towards
the informal one. Translator attempted to be faithful to the original text and endeavored to
66
convey the same impact that the original text has on readers of target text but somewhat it
made the translation abnormal.
In this process, the translator also mixed the formal translation with literal one
which resulted in a limited proficiency in translated text. In the above examples, the
translator has transliterated the SL word “General” to the target language. In this case,
number the high frequency usage of the words in the TL lexical scope, has encouraged the
translator to use them, instead of finding an equivalent item in the TL. In this sample, it is
obvious that, translator not only has not considered the textual level of the text but also
discourse level. He has also not recognized the author’s intended meaning which has result
in to distortion of meaning.
4.2
Sample Two
4.2.1. Original Sentence:
“You must not be angry with me”, I continued,”for making such a proposal. I am so
conscious of being only a nonentity in your eyes that you need not mind accepting money
from me. A gift from me could not possibly offend you. Moreover, it was I who lost your
gulden. (p. 45)
4.2.2. Persian Translation:
‫این احساس که در برابر تو‬.‫"حرفم را به دل نگیر‬:‫در ادامه گفتم‬
‫به قدری با من عجین شده است که به‬،‫هیچم یعنی در چشم تو الوجودم‬
‫ شاید‬،‫ اگر پیشکشی به تو بدهم‬.‫نظرم پول هم از من قبول میکنی‬
)47 ‫(ص‬.‫وانگهی پول تو را باخته ام‬.‫آزرده نشوی‬
4.2.3. Discussion at Textual Level:
4.2.3.1. Under Translation:
The translator has not translated the phrase “for making such a proposal” and has not
mentioned. The sentence means “ ‫به خاصر اینکه چنین از تو خواستگاری‬
‫ ”میکتم‬Translator again has not translated the phrase, “it was I who” which means, “ ‫این‬
‫ ”من بوده ام که‬Translator also has not translated the sentence, “I am so conscious”
and omitted the sentence completely.
4.2.3.2. Over Translation
Translator added the element “ ‫این احساس که در برابر تو هیچم یعنی در‬
‫ ”چشم تو الوجودم‬in the translated version which does not exist in the original piece.
Translator added the element “‫ ”قدری با من عجین شده است‬in the translated version
which does not exist in the original piece.
4.2.3.3. Distortion of Meaning:
Translator translated the phrase “you need not mind accepting money from me” to “ ‫به‬
‫”نظرم پول هم از من قبول میکنی‬, and also the phrase “A gift from me” to the
sentence “‫ ”اگر پیشکشی به تو بدهم‬which result in distortion of the meaning of the
original phrase.
4.2.4. Discussion at Discorsal Level:
67
What is notable in this part is that the translator is dealt with translation only at the word
level. The original text is written in formal language but the translator has not recognized
the point. He translated some part of the text in formal language and then moved towards
the informal one. Translator attempted to be faithful to the original text and endeavored to
convey the same impact that the original text has on readers of target text but somewhat it
made the translation abnormal. In this process, the translator also mixed the formal
translation with literal one which resulted in a limited proficiency in translated text. In the
above examples, the translator has translated of some the SL phrases into sentence in the
target language. In the translation process, translator has added three sentences which do
not exist in the original version. In this case, number the high frequency usage of the words
in the TL lexical scope, has encouraged the translator to use them, instead of finding an
equivalent item in the TL. In this sample, it is obvious that, translator not only has not
considered the textual level of the text but also discourse level. He has also not recognized
the author’s intended meaning which has result in to distortion of meaning.
4.3
Sample Three
4.3.1. Original Sentence:
“Do YOU, rather, tell me”, I said, what is going on here? Why do you seem half-afraid of
me? I can see for myself what is wrong. You are the step-daughter of a ruined and
insensate man who is smitten with love for this devil of a Blanche. (p. 52)
4.3.2. Persian Translation:
‫آخرش میگویی چه خرب است!ترسی چیزی از من داری؟ از اوضاع و احوال‬
‫آن دیوانه ی خانه خراب‬،‫ناپدری ات‬.‫به هم ریخته که خودم خرب دارم‬
)55 ‫ (ص‬.‫که مبتال به عشق بالنش اهرمن خوست‬
4.3.3. Discussion at Textual Level:
4.3.3.1. Under Translation:
The translator has not translated the sentence “You talk like a child” and has not
mentioned. The sentence means "‫"مثل بچه ها حرف می زنی‬. Translator again has not
translated the sentence, “It is always possible comport with dignity” which means, “ ‫مهیشه‬
‫ ”ممکن که با عزت و افتخار رفتار کرد‬Translator also has not translated the
sentence, “If one has quarrel it ought to elevate rather than to degrade one” which means,
“ ‫وقتی کسی مشاجره داره باید حبث کنه نه اینکه به طرف مقابل بی‬
‫ ”احرتامی کنه‬and omitted the sentence completely.
4.3.3.2. Over Translation:
Translator added the element “‫ ”غالم که توهین منیکند‬in the translated version which
does not exist in the original piece. Translator added the element “ ‫قدری با من عجین‬
‫ ”شده است‬in the translated version which does not exist in the original piece.
4.3.3.3. Distortion of Meaning:
Translator translated the phrase “slaves cannot be shamed or offended” to ‫کسی هم از‬
‫”غالم" مجاعت خجالت منیکشد‬, and also the phrase “You know that you and I stand on no
ceremony”, “‫ ”می دانی که هر چه دمل خبواهد میگویم‬which based on the
68
Cambridge Dictionary (2008), means “to not behave in a formal way” result in distortion of
the meaning of the original phrase.
4.3.4. Discussion at Discoursal Level:
The translator is dealt with translation only at the word level and has not realized the
cultural factors. The original text is written in formal language but the translator has not
recognized the point. He translated some part of the text in formal language and then
moved towards the informal one. Translator attempted to be faithful to the original text and
endeavored to convey the same impact that the original text has on readers of target text but
somewhat it made the translation abnormal. In this process, the translator also mixed the
formal translation with literal one which resulted in a limited proficiency in translated text.
In the above examples, the translator has translated of some the SL phrases into sentence in
the target language. In the translation process, translator has added three sentences which
do not exist in the original version. In this case, number the high frequency usage of the
words in the TL lexical scope, has encouraged the translator to use them, instead of finding
an equivalent item in the TL. In this sample, it is obvious that, translator not only has not
considered the textual level of the text but also discourse level. He has also not recognized
the author’s intended meaning which has result in to distortion of meaning.
4.4
Sample Four
4.4.1. Original Sentence
She had treated me with such cruelty, and had got me into such a hole, that I felt a longing
to force her to beseech me to stop. Of course, my tomfoolery might compromise; certain
other feelings and desires had begun to form themselves in my brain. (p. 67-8)
4.4.2. Persian Translation:
‫او بود که‬.‫خیلی دمل میخواست با اعصاب پولینا بازی کنم‬،‫به جای آن‬
‫بنابراین‬.‫با من جفا کرده بود و مرا توی این هچل انداخته بود‬
‫خیلی دمل میخواست او را به جایی بکشامن که به عجز و البه از من‬
)69 ‫ (ص‬.‫خبواهد که دیگر بس کنم‬
4.4.3. Discussion at Textual Level:
4.4.3.1. Under Translation:
The translator has not translated the whole sentence “Of course, my tomfoolery might
compromise; certain other feelings and desires had begun to form themselves in my brain”
and has not mentioned in the translated text.
4.4.3.2. Over Translation:
Translator added the element ‫خیلی دمل میخواست با اعصاب‬،‫"به جای آن‬
"‫پولینا بازی کنم‬in the translated version which does not exist in the original piece.
Translator added the element “‫ ”بنابراین‬in the translated version which does not exist
in the original piece.
4.4.3.3. Distortion of Meaning:
Translator translated the sentence “She had treated me with such cruelty” to “ ‫او بود که‬
‫ ”با من جفا کرده بود‬which based on the Cambridge Dictionary (2008), means
69
“cruel behavior or a cruel action” and also the phrase “to force her” to “ ‫او را به جایی‬
‫ ”بکشامن‬which based on the Cambridge Dictionary (2008), means “physical, especially
violent, strength or power” result in distortion of the meaning of the original text.
4.4.4. Discussion at Discoursal Level:
The translator is dealt with translation only at the word level and has not realized the
cultural factors. The original text is written in formal language but the translator has not
recognized the point. He translated some part of the text in formal language and then
moved towards the informal one. Translator attempted to be faithful to the original text and
endeavored to convey the same impact that the original text has on readers of target text but
somewhat it made the translation abnormal. In this process, the translator also mixed the
formal translation with literal one which resulted in a limited proficiency in translated text.
In the above examples, the translator has translated of some the SL phrases into sentence in
the target language. In the translation process, translator has added three sentences which
do not exist in the original version. In this case, number the high frequency usage of the
words in the TL lexical scope, has encouraged the translator to use them, instead of finding
an equivalent item in the TL. In this sample, it is obvious that, translator not only has not
considered the textual level of the text but also discourse level. He has also not recognized
the author’s intended meaning which has result in to distortion of meaning.
4.5
Sample Five
4.5.1. Original Sentence:
Well, they are not worth noticing. To the annoyance of the decent public they are allowed
to remain here-at all events such of them as daily change 4000 franc notes at the tables. (p.
88)
4.5.2. Persian Translation:
‫از جنم این خمدرات تا خبواهی اینجا هست که‬.‫راستش ارزشش را ندارد‬
‫هر روز هم سر میز قمار‬.‫مایه تکدر خاطر اشخاص آبرومند میشوند‬
)88 ‫ (ص‬.‫اسکناس های هزار فرانکی خرد میکنند‬
4.5.3. Discusion at Textual Level:
4.5.3.1. Under Translation:
The translator has not translated the whole sentence “noticing” and has not mentioned in
the translated text. The translator has not translated the word “they are allowed to remain
here” and has not mentioned in the translated text. The translator has not translated the
word “at all events such of them” and has not mentioned in the translated text.
4.5.3.2. Over Translation:
Translator added the sentence “‫ ”از جنم این خمدرات تا خبواهی اینجا هست‬in the
translated version which does not exist in the original piece.
4.5.3.3. Distortion of Meaning:
Translator translated the sentence “To the annoyance of the decent public” to “ ‫از‬
‫خمدرات تا خبواهی اینجا هست که مایه تکدر خاطر اشخاص “جنم این‬
‫ آبرومند میشوند‬and he also has not translated the sentence “they are allowed to
70
remain here-at all events”. Translator also has translated the sentence “such of them as
daily change 4000 franc notes at the tables” to “ ‫هر روز هم سر میز قمار اسکناس‬
‫ ” های هزار فرانکی خرد میکنند‬which result in distortion of the meaning of the
original text.
4.5.4. Discussion at Discoursal Level:
The translator is dealt with translation only at the word level and has not realized the
cultural factors. The original text is written in formal language but the translator has not
recognized the point. He translated some part of the text in formal language and then
moved towards the informal one. Translator attempted to be faithful to the original text and
endeavored to convey the same impact that the original text has on readers of target text but
somewhat it made the translation abnormal. In this process, the translator also mixed the
formal translation with literal one which resulted in a limited proficiency in translated text.
In the above examples, the translator has translated of some the SL phrases into sentence in
the target language. In the translation process, translator has added three sentences which
do not exist in the original version. In this case, number the high frequency usage of the
words in the TL lexical scope, has encouraged the translator to use them, instead of finding
an equivalent item in the TL. In this sample, it is obvious that, translator not only has not
considered the textual level of the text but also discourse level. He has also not recognized
the author’s intended meaning which has result in to distortion of meaning.
4.6
Sample Six
4.6.1. Original Text:
Enough! All this is empty chatter. You are talking the usual nonsense. I shall know quite
well how to spend my time. How did I come to undertake the journey, you ask? Well, is
there anything so very surprising about it? It was done quite simply. (p.102)
4.6.2. Persian Translation:
.‫ داری طبق معمول یاوه هم میبافی‬.‫از این حرف و یاوه دست بردار‬
‫ ولی اشکالی هم ندارد تو‬.‫من خودم از پس مواظبت از خودم برمیآیم‬
.‫ازم میپرسید چطوری آمدم‬.‫ کینه ای به دل ندارم‬.‫هم دم دست باشی‬
)101 ‫ (ص‬.‫آخر کجایش تعجب دارد؟ خیلی ساده‬
4.6.3. Discussion at Textual Level:
4.6.3.1. Under Translation:
The translator has not translated the whole word “Enough” and has not mentioned in the
translated text. The translator has not translated the sentence “I shall know quite well how
to spend my time” and has not mentioned in the translated text. The translator has not
translated the word “you ask?” and has not mentioned in the translated text. The translator
has not translated the word “to undertake the journey” and has not mentioned in the
translated text.
4.6.3.2. Over Translation
Translator has added the sentence “ ‫ولی اشکالی هم ندارد تو هم دم دست‬
‫ ”باشی‬in the translated version which does not exist in the original piece. Translator has
added the sentence “‫ ”کینه ای به دل ندارم‬to the translated. Translator has also
71
added the element “‫ ” از این حرف و یاوه دست بردار‬in the translated version
which has not exist in the original piece.
4.6.3.3. Distortion of Meaning:
Translator translated the sentence “the old woman continued in a stentorian voice” to “ ‫در‬
‫ به من گفت بود‬،‫ ”ادامه داد و بیدادش‬which the translator has not mentioned
the phrase “the old women” and he also the phrase “Cannot you come and say how-doyou-do?” to “‫ ”مگر ادب و آداب تعظیم و سالم کردن یادت نداده اند؟‬which
based on the Cambridge Dictionary (2008), means “a formal greeting for someone that you
have not met before” result in distortion of the meaning of the original text.
4.6.4. Discussion at Discoursal Level:
Translator attempted to be faithful to the original text and endeavored to convey the same
impact that the original text has on readers of target text but somewhat it made the
translation abnormal. The translator is dealt with translation only at the word level and has
not realized the cultural factors. The original text is written in formal language but the
translator has not recognized the point. He translated some part of the text in formal
language and then moved towards the informal one. In this process, the translator also
mixed the formal translation with literal one which resulted in a limited proficiency in
translated text. In the above examples, the translator has translated of some the SL phrases
into sentence in the target language. In the translation process, translator has added three
sentences which do not exist in the original version. In this case, number the high
frequency usage of the words in the TL lexical scope, has encouraged the translator to use
them, instead of finding an equivalent item in the TL. In this sample, it is obvious that,
translator not only has not considered the textual level of the text but also discourse level.
He has also not recognized the author’s intended meaning which has result in to distortion
of meaning.
5.0
5.1
Results and Conclusions
Conclusion
In previous chapter some samples of “The Gambler by Dostoyevsky” with its Persian
translation by “Saleh Hosseini” analyzed. We presented original sentences with their
Persian translation. Then the samples and its translation were analyzed at the different level
as mentioned earlier. Then each sample was analyzed in the category such as textual level
(under translation, over translation and distortion of meaning) and discourse level. This was
the whole process which has done in the previous chapter.
In the following chapter we are going to discuss the results and conclusions of the
work. As it was mentioned in chapter one, we proposed some questions to be analyzed and
discussed through the work. The research questions are restated again in this part and then
we are going to discuss the answers of them. Our research questions are:
1. Does the translator need to understand the discourse of the original author in
order to achieve a successful translation?
72
2. Is it necessary to analyze the discourse and textual elements before starting the
process of translation?
As it is stated in the previous chapter, the related level which has analyzed is
under translation, mistranslation, over translation, distortion of meaning and discourse
level. In almost all samples these strategies could be found and translator through using
these techniques tried to handle the intended meaning. After inserting these strategies,
translator adapts source texts into the situations of the target texts but in some cases he
handled the translation poorly. The examples which analyzed above reveal that translator
has not focused on the discourse and other textual elements i.e. he only considered the
textual level and mainly translated the work mostly freely and mostly used the word-toword translation.
The translator ignored the discourse of the original work and used different
strategies to handle the translation which resulted in creation of his own text in the
translated version. So, the meaning of the original text has changed and distorted in the
process of translation. Cultural and ideological differences among the other factors in on
hand and the lack of enough knowledge of the discourse and textual elements which carries
ideology and cultural attitudes of the original author in the other hand result in lots of
difficulties for the translator. The translator was unable to recognize the cultural and
ideological aspects of the work. The translator frequently used different techniques to
handle the translation and creates some situations that do not exist in the TT. The translator
due to the mentioned techniques, in some cased also added some sentences to the translated
text and in some cases omitted a large part of the text and has not translated. In this
process, the intended meaning of the original author has changed or has not been reflected
and also some cultural elements of the original text has violated. It can be concluded that
due to cultural differences, the translator has failed to understand the author and text
properly. Furthermore, cultural gaps that exist between Persian and English languages
hindered the translator to extract properly the intended meaning of the author.
So it could claim that translation and discoursal approaches are linked together
and translator, as mentioned before, must not only have proficiency of two languages but
also feel at home in tow cultures.
Translation quality assessment is not an undisputed issue in Translation Studies.
The main problem seems to reside in how to express quality and equivalence or what
measure should be used for the quality and equivalence of a translation. This question has
been typically addressed with many variations. The translated text (TT) may be assessed by
experts such as professional translators, translation or language teachers and others
including researchers.
Alternatively, TTs may be described according to a system that is theoretically
motivated, clearly stated and discussed previously to the analysis. That system also serves
to describe the source text (ST) so that, through independent analysis, STs and TTs can be
compared. In such a way, TTs’ quality is normally presented as a degree of similarity of its
description in relation to that of the ST.
73
References
Baker, M., & Saldanha, G. (ed.) (2009). Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies.
London and New York: Routledge.
Bassnett, S. (2002). Translation Studies. London and New York: Routledge.
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s dictionary (2008). Third Edition, England: Cambridge
University Press.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor Mikhailovich. (1969). The Gambler. (Hogarth, CJ. Trans.). England:
Public Domain Books.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor Mikhailovich. (2011). The Gambler. (Saleh Hosseini Trans.). Tehran:
Niloofar Publication.
Fairclough, N., & Wodak, R. (1997). Critical Discourse Analysis. (T. A. Dijk, Ed.)
Discourse Analysis. A Multidisciplinary Introduction, 2, 258-84.
Fowler, R. (1991). Power. Handbook of Discourse Analysis in Society. In T. Van Dijk
(Ed.). London: Academic Press.
House, J. (1977). A Model for Translation Quality Assessment. Tubingen: Gunter Marr.
Toury, G. (1980). In Search of a Theory of Translation. Tel Aviv: The Porter Institute.
Toury, G. (1995). Descriptive Translation Studies- and Beyond. Amsterdam and
Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
Van Dijk, T. (1991). Racism and the Press. London: Routledge.
Williams, J. and Chesterman, A. (2002). The Map. A Beginner’s Guide to Doing Research
in Translation Studies. Manchester and Northampton: St. Jerome Publications.
74
Azuichi, Short Utterance and Responses in Japanese
Conversation on Interview Context
Muhammad Haikal Shariff1 & Roslina Mamat2
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
Azuichi, short utterance, and responses are some of the Japanese linguistic features. They
hold the significant meaning such as showing agreement, continuation of the conversation,
politeness, and other functions from the listener to the speaker. This paper aimed to analyse
the aizuchi, short utterance , and responses in the interview context by the Japanese native
speaker. By using 15 episodes of Easy Japanese videos, the study found some of the types
of azuichi, short utterance, and response produced by the interviewee in the interview
conversation. The azuichi (hai),short utterance (hai), and response (hai) marked the most
occurrence in the interviewee utterances. Each hai held the significant functions to
mainatain the naturalness of Japanese conversation. In conlusion, future studies need to
done to involve the interviewer and interviewee ‘s production of azuichi, short utterance,
and response using similar approach.
Keyword: Azuichi, short utterance,response, interview context
Biodata: 1Muhammad Haikal bin Shariff is a post-graduate student in Faculty of Modern
Language and Communication, University Putra of Malaysia (UPM), Serdang, Selangor.
Curently,he is doing Master of Arts (Discourse Studies). His research of field relates to
the spoken discourse of Japanese conversation.
2
Roslina Mamat is the Senior Lecturer at Department of Foreign Language, Faculty of
Modern Languages and Communications, University Putra of Malaysia (UPM). She is
expert in the conversational analysis and popular culture of Japanese. She has experience in
teaching Japanese language for more than 18 years. Previously, she has worked at
University of Malaya (UM), Malaysia and University of Chuo, Tokyo. By far, she has
been published more than 40 publications including published books, articles, journals,
book’s chapters and Japanese language learning modules.
75
1.0
Introduction
Japanese conversation has been dragged into attention among the researchers. Aside from
its structure and unique politeness value, the way Japanese conversation is conveyed also
marks the uniqueness of Japanese language. This study aimly focussed on three of the vital
elements in the Japanese conversation. They were aizuchi, short utterance, and response.
These elements are generally occurred in the Japanese conversation. Among the native
Japanese speaker, aizuchi, short utterance, and response are more generally immaculate
coordination between participants of the conversation are considered to be very important.
It is because, the usage of the language marks the assilimilation among the participants of
the conversation (Kita & Ide,2007). Roslina Mamat (2004) also agreed that these three
elements are vital elements in the Japanese conversation.
As Japanese conversation marks its uniqueness in terms of linguistic features,
native and non-native speaker must use it appropriately to avoid miscommunication or
violate face saving among the participants. According to Roslina Mamat (2004), aizuchi
and responses are generally misunderstood in the conversation. For example, the term ‘hai’
may be interpreted as azuichi or responses depending on the context. Likewise, the
utterances hai, un and ee in the context of aizuchi (or even feedback) do not necessarily
give the same meaning as printed in the dictionary. Due to this, it is rather difficult for us to
interpret if the utterer’s aizuchi agrees or not with the current speaker. Aizuchi will just acts
as a continuer in a conversation. This is a normal phenomenon in a language society
especially in a Japanese society, as one of the reasons of eloquence is to be friendly to fulfil
the social target
The Azuichi generally is co notated as the used of words hai, ee, un, sou desune,
soudesuka, hontou, hontouni, aa, ho, ha,phrasal repetition or reactive tokens and signs of
body language (Roslina et. al.,2006).Previous research on Japanese discourse and
communication has often emphasized the vitality of a category labeled Aizuchi in the
casual conversation (Saft,2007) A recent study of injected Aizuchi such as hai (Yes), ee,
sou desu ne (Yes, quite right), and naruhodo (I see), found that it occurs every few seconds
in an average Japanese conversation. However, some may confuse about the function of
Aizuchi in Japanese conversation. It is considered reassuring to the speaker, indicating that
the listener is active and involved in the discussion. Aizuchis are frequently misinterpreted
by non-native speaker a agreement on the part of the listener.. Therefore many studies are
made to clarify the functions and efficiency of the Aizuchi made by Japanese language
speakers regardless native and non-native speakers (Roslina Mamat, Sanimah Hussin, &
Eriko Yamato (2011) & Mizutani (1998) ). In the natural conversation, Azuichi often
occurs in the Japanese conversation. It is marked as a part of Japanese conversation. In the
normal interview session, the questions are already prepared by the interview, therefore, it
is rarely to see azuichi occurrence by the interviewer. However, as the people who will be
interviewed, although, the questions are given at a time, they still need a time to think of
about the answer. This will result a lot of azuichi occurrence as one of its functions is as
continuer, agreeing the statement, and filling the gaps in the utterances.
76
The study also focused on the utterance data by the interviewee. The demographic
data of the interviewee was put as the limitation because the video involved random people
with the different topics. The focus of Japanese linguistic features were only azuichi, short
utterance, and response. Hence, the study was aimed to
1) identify the azuichi, short utterance and response produced by interviewee.
2) identify the highest frequency of azuichi, short utterance and response produced
by interviewee.
3) analyse the functions of the highest frequency of azuichi, short utterance and
response produced by interviewee in the interview context.
2.0
Literature review
Japanese conversation is one of the unique style of conversations that noted a number of
significant cross-cultural differences. The frequent using of Azuichi or is called
backchannels, make the Azuichi is one of the important element in Japanese conversation.
Ohama and Nishimura (2005) stated that in the conversation between Japanese and
Westerners, Japanese people used more Azuichi and nodding behaviour compared to
Westerners. Similarly, the study by Yamada (1997) showed that her comparative study of
American and Japanese bank executive reported that the use of Azuichi by Japanese was
about twice that of American.
2.1
Azuichi
As looking the previous studies, Azuichi seems be a part of Japanese linguistic practice in
everyday conversation. It is the fact that Azuichi is not only the technical terms, but it
brings a lot of co notation to make the communication going well ( Kita & Ide, 2007). On
the other hand, Schegloff (1982) stated that the Azuichi co-notation and the reactive tokens
or backchannels in English language cannot be compared. It is because In English,although
the backchannels such as ‘uh-uh’ or ‘yeah’ is oftenly used ,but it only indicated as the
technical terms in conversation not as a part of conversational element.
Looking in details, Azuichi brings varies definition according to the previous
studies. According to Roslina Mamat (2004), Aizuchi can be defined as the production of
the word hai, ee, un, sou desune, soudesuka, hontou, hontouni, aa, ho, ha, phrasal repitition
or reactive phrasal, and signs of body language. On the other hand, Susanne Miyata and
Hiro Yuki Nisasawa (2007) divided Azuichi into two parts which are utterance-internal
(such as ee, eeto, un, hai, phrasal repition, etc.) and utterance-final (such as hee, souka,
hontou, hontouni, etc.). Iwasaki (1997) has broadened the categorization of Azuichi into
several parts. He classified it into three parts : (1) a closed set of non-lexical forms (n,
nn,e,ee,a,aa,hai,haa,ha,ho,hoo,hn) ;(2) a closed set of phrasal Aizuchi (hontou, soudesuka,
usso, naruhodo) ; (3) an open class of substansive of any expression. In this study Azuichi
will be defined according to Roslina Mamat (2004) as it meets the requirement of the
study.
77
2.2
Short Utterance
Short utterances are defined by Roslina Mamat(2004) as the terms used in the conversation
which do not literally refer to the specific meaning in the dictionary. However, short
utterances are very important to attribute towards the naturalness of the Japanese
conversation. The examples of short utterances are ‘soudesune’, ‘hai’, ‘aa’,and ‘eeto’. This
kind of Japanese linguistic features also occur at the beginning, middle and ending of the
utterances.
2.3
Response
On the other hand, responses in Japanese conversation brings the significant meaning in its
language instituition. Responses is defined by Roslina Mamat (2004) as an information
that are received as an answer to a question. She also adds that according to the website
from japanese.about.com., “The Japanese continuously use verbal as well as nonverbal
signal (aizuchi) to indicate that they are following what is being said... A recent study of
injected aizuchi such as “hai (Yes)” and “ee”, “Sou desu ne (Yes, quite right)”, “Naruhodo
(I see)”, found that it occurs every few seconds in Japanese conversation”. Therefore, it is
concluded that responses can be literally defined as back-channel in English language.
2.4
Interview Context
Using the interview discourse context, this study aimed to study in depth on aizuchi, short
utterance and responses by the native Japanese speakers. Different from usual structure
interview, the interviewee were chosen randomly and utterances produced were genuine to
the result of the data. According to Wetherrel & Potter (1988), Interview talk is approached
with very different expectations from how we have learned, as members of culture, to
interpret people’s talk in everyday life. Participants’ accounts, or verbal expressions, are
not treated as descriptions of actual processes, behavior, or mental events. Interview talk is
by nature a cultural and collective phenomenon
3.0
Methodology
The study analysed data from the 15 episodes of Easy Japanese videos. The videos were
produced by Easy Language Network whichare the non-profit video project for the global
communities to learn languages of the world. The videos was hosted by Japanese native
people namelyMiss Mona Kumagai. Each episode will be explaining about the different
topic. The interviewer will interview random street people at the different places of Japan
in each episode. The interview session was observed and transcribed using Usami
transriptions. In the transcriptions, the azuichi was inserted in the brackets (), while full
stop notation (.) marks the completion of the utterances.The three dots (...) indicates the
utterance is taken apart form the full utterance.
78
3.1
Instruments
Easy Japanese videos are the non-profit video project which aims to make global
communities to learn languages through interactive way. Easy Languages is a non-profit
video project that aims to help people learn languages through authentic street interviews.
The videos also showcase the street culture of the participating partner countries, through
its portrayal of typical, everyday situation that otherwise wouldn’t be covered by regular
media. Episodes focus on different topics, and are produced at various locations around the
globe. Every Easy Languages video is subtitled in its local language and in English—a
valuable feature for learners of all levels. Easy Languages started as Easy German, a
multimedia learning project by The Global Experience at Schiller High School in Münster,
Germany. Its free, accessible format, and original approach to language learning made the
videos popular on YouTube, attracting a worldwide audience interested in foreign
languages and intercultural exchange. In 2013, Easy Languages became a social franchise,
with an ever-growing community of co-producers from all over the world.
5.0
Results and discussion
The data was presented according to the following research questions. The data mainly was
analysed by dividing the utterances into three type of Japanese linguistic features.
Generally, the three types of Japanese linguistic features (azuichi, short utterances, and
responses) occurred in the interview session. After analyzing and transcribing the data, the
study found that 16 azuichi, 133 short utterances, and 33 responses were produced by the
interviewee in the video.
1) What are the types of azuichi, short utterance and response produced by
interviewee?
Based on the findings, this study identified the types of azuichi , short utterances, and
responses produced in the by the interviewee in the interview session. Based on Table 1.0,
there were 8 types of aizuchi could be found in the interviewee utterances which were hai,
ee, soudesune, sou, sousou, e, un,and a. On the other hand, 24 types of short utterances
were produced in the utterances by the interviewee. There were ano, hai, a, soudesune,
soudane, ne,sou, yaa, aa, ee, maa, repeatition of words, un, eeto, yappari, sonna kanji,
desune, sousou, nanka, wa, iya, e , de,and soudesu. As for the reponses, it marked the
occurrence of 7 types of responses which were hai, soudesune, hai, un, sonna kanji,ee,
soudesu, and soudane. Although some of the terms were occurred in each types of
linguistic features, the study divided them based according to the definition and function in
context of the utterances were produced.
79
Table 1 : The Azuichi, Short Utterance, and Response Production by the Interviewee
AZUICHI
Types
hai
ee
soudesune
Frequency
8
1
1
sou
sousou
e
un
a
1
1
1
1
1
TOTAL
16
SHORT UTTERANCE
Types
Frequency
ano
13
hai
14
a
8
RESPONSE
Types
hai
soudesune
un
Frequency
16
5
2
soudesune
soudane
ne
sou
yaa
aa
ee
maa
Repeatition
un
eeto
yappari
Sonna kanji
desune
sousou
nanka
wa
iya
e
de
soudesu
TOTAL
sonna kanji
ee
soudesu
soudane
3
1
5
1
TOTAL
32
9
1
2
1
1
5
2
13
3
10
9
5
1
1
1
6
2
6
7
2
1
133
Based on Table 1, short utterances were produced more compared to azuichi and responses.
As the context of the study was interview, the pattern of expected utterance of answers
from the interviewee was flexible. The data also only collected from the interviewee
instead of interviewer. Therefore, the interviewee produced more opinion which resulted to
highly produce of short utterance. On the other hand, most of the posed questions were
subjective-oriented, which required the interviewee the give long response. Therefore,
there was limited production of response in the interview session.
2) What are the highest frequency of types of azuichi, short utterance and
response produced by interviewee?
Based on the analysis of the 15 episodes of the interview video, the study identified the
highest frequency of aizuchi, short utterances, and responses by the interviewee. The most
frequent used of aizuchi was ‘hai’ which marked at 8 times of occurrence. As for short
utterance, ‘hai’ marked the highest occurrence which at 14 times. On the other hand, the
80
most frequent used of response was ‘hai’ which marked 16 times of production by the
interviewee.
3) What are the functions of the highest frequency of azuichi, short utterance
and response produced by interviewee?
Based on previous questions posed in this study, the data found that the regularity of
certain types of azuichi , short utterances and reponses produced in the utterance of the
interviewee. As we analysed video, this study identified the functions of the respective
linguistic features of Japanese language.
Azuichi
In this study, we defined azuichi based on Roslina Mamat(2004). The azuichi is occurred
during an on-going Japanese language conversation, the speaker while talking, will look
and wait for a signal from the listener in order for him to continue or not to continue the
conversation, through aizuchi that is sent by listener. The listener waits for the speaker
when he is at the last predicate of a conversation. It is clear that because Japanese language
has many utterances which has uncertain connotation, the listener has to listen to the last
predicate or sentence to know what the speaker really wants to convey.
Excerpt 1.0
A: Oneisan mo (hai) yappari nihon de ichiban suki na tabemono wa okome?
Miss also (hai), I assume your favourite food is rice? Isn’t it?
B: Hai, okome desune, hai.
Yes, It is.
Excerpt 1.1
A: Sou nanda. Nanka kou renshuu huukei toka mo mite,(hai)sugoi kinpaku shita kuuki ga
Attan desu kedo(hai)....
I see. You know when I see you practice (hai), there was a very tense atmosphere (hai)..
B: Kendo no seishin’tte iuno wa soudesune,....
Spirit of Kendo I guess.....
Based on Excerpt 1.0 and Excerpt 1.1, the azuichi hai was used by the interviewee (B). The
aizuchi hai produced was not indicated as agreement nor turn taking signals. Most of the
interviewee produced aizuchi hai as the continuer in the conversation. Therefore, most of
the interviewee produced aizuchi hai as the continuer of the conversation.
Short utterance
Short utterances are defined by Roslina Mamat(2004) as the terms used in the conversation
which do not literally refer to the specific meaning in the dictionary. However, short
utterances are very important to attribute towards the naturalness of the Japanese
conversation. The examples of short utterances are ‘soudesune’, ‘hai’, ‘aa’,and ‘eeto’. This
81
kind of Japanese linguistic features also occur at the beginning, middle and ending of the
utterances.
Excerpt 1.3
A: ...kendou ni yotte kou jibun ga takamarutte iu koto?
...improve yourself in terms of personality through Kendo?
B: Hai, ano, yappari kendou to nichijou seikatsu toka....
Hai, ano, yappari Kendo and daily life...
Excerpt 1.4
A: Kotoshi wa donna koto sareru yotei nan desu ka?
This year, what do you plan to do?
B : Yappari kazoku to. Un, ano, mago to,hai,obaachan to, hai, ojiichan to...
Definitely with my family, un, ano,my grandchildren, hai, my grandpa, hai my
grandma.
Based on Excerpt 1.3 and Excerpt 1.4, the short utterance, hai, was used at the different
locations. In the Excerpt 1.3, the role of hai can be defined as the expression used to begin
the answer as the usage of other types of short utterances (soudesne,eeto,maa,and a). In the
Excerot 1.4, the short utterance hai acted as self-confirmation of the though answer
(Angles,Nagatomi, & Nakayama, 2000).
Responses
Responses is defined by Roslina Mamat (2004) as an information that are received as an
answer to a question. She also adds that according to the website from japanese.about.com.,
“The Japanese continuously use verbal as well as nonverbal signal (aizuchi) to indicate that
they are following what is being said... A recent study of injected aizuchi such as “hai
(Yes)” and “ee”, “Sou desu ne (Yes, quite right)”, “Naruhodo (I see)”, found that it occurs
every few seconds in Japanese conversation”. Therefore, it is concluded that responses can
be literally defined as back-channel in English language.
Excerpt 1.5
A: Benkyou wa shite masu ka?
Do you study?
B: Hai, shite masu.
Yes, I do.
82
Excerpt 1.6
A: Honto desu ka?
Really?
B: Hai.
Yes.
Based on Excerpt 1.5 and Excerpt 1.6, the response, hai, is used as the affirmative answer
to the questions. To be differed from the short utterance, hai, the response, hai¸ was
directly answering the posed question, while the short utterance, hai, was used as the term
inserted in the utterance to maintain the naturalness of the Japanese conversation.
Generally, the findings showed that there was some significant result in terms of azuchi,
short utterances, and responses production in interview context. As the data was collected
from the interviewee, short utterances were produced more compared to azuichi and
responses. The frequent production of types of azuichi, short utterances, and responses
indicated the similar functions thoughout the interviewee from the videos.
6.0
Conclusion
In conclusion, the production of azuichi, short utterances, and responses by the interview in
the interview context marked the significant different with the casual conversation.
Although, the interviewees were chosen randomly, the study found that the production of
azuichi, short utterances, and reponses indicated the similar function. This showed that
native Japanese speakers were well known on the natural of Japanese linguistic features.
The future studies need to be done by involving the interviewer and interviewee using
similar approach.
83
References
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Iwasaki, S. (1997). The Northridge Conversation: the floor structure and the ‘loop’
sequence in Japanese conversation. Journal of Pragmatics. 28. 661-693.
Kita, S. & Ide, S. (2007). Nodding, aizuchi, and final particles in Japanese conversation:
How conversation reflects the ideology of communication and social relationships.
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Ohama, R. & Nishimura, O. (2005). Turn-allocation and backchannels in Japanese and
English conversation: A comparison between Japanese and New Zealand students. The
Japanese Journal of Language Society. 7(2).78-77.
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Thousand Oaks, CA:Pine Forge Press.
Roslina Mamat, Normaliza Abdul Rahim,& Farah Tajuddin. (2012). Short utterances in
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Roslina Mamat, Sanimah Hussin, & Eriko Yamato. (2011). Lingua 3. Aizuchi, maklum
balas dan celahan dalam perbualan Bahasa Jepun. 236-247. Malaysia: Penerbit UPM.
Roslina Mamat. (2004). Analisis Perbualan Penutur Asli Bahasa Jepun: Satu Kajian
Pengambilan Giliran dan Azuichi.Tesis Ph.D Universiti Malaya.
Schegloff, E. A. (1982). Analyzing
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84
Bilingual Development of Malay and English:
The Case of Plural Marking
Rabiah Tul Adawiyah Mohamed Salleh1 , Satomi Kawaguchi2, Caroline
Jones3, Bruno Dibiase4
1
Western Sydney University, Australia & International Islamic University Malaysia,
[email protected]
2
Western Sydney University, Australia, [email protected]
3
Western Sydney University, Australia, [email protected]
4
Western Sydney University, Australia, [email protected]
Abstract
In a postcolonial country such as Malaysia, English plays an important role in governance,
education and popular culture. With English now becoming the lingua franca of the
globalized world, many Malaysian urban families use English to speak to their children at
home, as well as the Malay language or other ethnic languages (Mabella, 2013).
Recognizing the important relationship between the two languages, this paper investigates
the early bilingual development of Malay and English. This paper, focusing specifically on
the development of plural marking in Malay and English in a child raised in two languages
that are typologically distant and express plurals differently; Malay plurals are expressed in
various forms of reduplication and English plurals are typically morphologically marked on
nouns with suffix /-s/. But how does the child manage to learn, simultaneously, such
divergent systems? In order to shed some light on this question, a child growing up
bilingually in these two languages was audio and video recorded in each language over 5
months, that is from 3 years 4 months (3;04 ) to 3 years 9 months (3;09). Results suggest
that though the child appears to develop two distinct systems of pluralities in Malay and
English, the two developing grammars also manifest cross-linguistic influences.
Keywords: Malay, English, Bilingual Development, Plural.
Biodata: Rabiah Tul Adawiyah Mohamed Salleh is a Ph.D. student at Western Sydney
University, Bankstown Campus. She is conducting a case study research on childhood
bilingualism, focusing on the morphological and phonological aspect of plural
development. She is supervised by Dr. Satomi Kawaguchi, Assoc. Prof. Bruno Dibiase and
Assoc.Prof Caroline Jones.
1.
Introduction
This paper aims to investigate Malay and English bilingual first language development.
Specifically, this paper examines the development of plural marking in a child raised
bilingually from birth. Malay is an Austronesian language spoken in Southeast Asia with
over 250 million speakers, which makes it the most widely spoken language in the region
85
(Tadmor, 2009). Due to colonial history, the English language plays a significant role in
Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore; the so-called outer-circle, postcolonial countries in which
though English is not the mother tongue, the language plays a significant role in
governance, education and popular culture (Kachru, 1992; Kirkpatrick, 2007). The role of
English is a topical issue in Malaysian press, which points to growing trends among urban
families to use English at home (Mabella, 2013). A recent independent survey in 2012 by
Introspek Asia found that 26% of Malaysians “always, most of the time and sometimes”
speak English to their children; hence for these children, English has somewhat become
their first language (Kon,2013) or at the very least, one of the languages to which they are
exposed from birth. In such circumstances, empirical research on the development of
Malay and English in bilingual children would certainly inform not only the field of
Bilingual First Language Acquisition (henceforth BFLA), but also parents who wish to
raise their children in a Malay-English bilingual environment and teachers who will be
educating these children.
Research into language acquisition of young bilingual children provides the
opportunities for studying how children develop two language systems simultaneously and
what may be the interrelationship between the two systems within the one child. Research in
BFLA has increased dramatically over the past two decades both in the number of scholars
pursuing the subject and in terms of geographic diversity (De Houwer, 2009) including
English in combination with several Asian and South East Asian languages such as, e.g.,
Cantonese (Yip and Matthews, 2007), Mandarin (Qi, 2011) and Japanese (Itani-Adams,
2007). However, BFLA literature on Malay-English is extremely limited.
The significance of this study is further underscored by the typological distance
between Malay and English. From a morphological point of view, for instance, Malay is
more isolating and more highly agglutinating than English (Svalberg & Hj Awang Chuchu,
1998). Word stem in Malay tend to be relatively constant, and there is little inflection while
English commonly uses inflection to mark tense, number and so on. The encoding of
plurality is a case in point which well illustrates the typological distance between the two
languages. Morphologically, plurality is encoded in Malay through various forms of
reduplication such as ‘rumah-rumah’ (houses), where a lexical form is reiterated once,
‘buah-buahan’ (plural form of 'buah' ‘fruit’) where the initial word is reduplicated with the
addition of the suffix -an and ‘bukit-bukau’ (hills), where the initial word is reduplicated by
changing some parts of the word (Haji Omar, 1975). By contrast, the method of forming
plurals of countable nouns in English is by adding the inflectional suffix -s to the root, for
instance, cat/cats, bear/bears and houses (Carstairs-McCarthy, 2002). Since plurality is
expressed in such divergent ways in each language, this paper addresses the following
questions;
a) How does the bilingual child simultaneously develop the plural expression
system in English and Malay respectively?
b) Does the child exhibit cross-linguistic influence from the two developing
languages in her plural development?
In the remaining sections, a brief description of the structures of plurality in
English and Malay will be offered in section 2, followed by a brief review of relevant
86
BFLA literature in section 3. The method adopted for this study is explained in section 4
which is followed by results and discussion in section 5 and a brief conclusion in section 6.
2.
English and Malay
English and Malay belong to different language families; English is an Indo-European
language and Malay is an Austronesian language (Svalberg & Hj Awang Chuchu, 1998).
Many languages grammaticize numerical concepts(Slobin,1973) through singular-plural
marking (e.g. a cat/ several cats), quantifiers (e.g. some, many, all) classifiers and measure
words (e.g. piece, bit, pound) (Barner, Lui & Zapf, 2011). However, languages vary in how
they linguistically express the concept of ‘one versus more than one’. English and Malay
too, differ in the expression of plurality.
English plural is commonly expressed by the -s morpheme for most countable
nouns: the suffix –s is the regular suffix for forming plurals. Irregular suffixes expressing
plurality include –i, -ae and –a (as in cacti, formulae, phenomena), and there is also the
suffix -(r)en that shows up only in oxen, children and brethren (Carstairs-McCarthy,
2002). By contrast, Malay plurals are marked mainly through reduplication: anak-anak ‘a
number of children’, is the plural form for anak ‘a child’ and guru-guru ‘teachers’
pluralizes guru ‘a teacher’ (Tadmor, 2009).
A further significant difference in the expression of plurals is in the construction
of numeral classifiers. In English, high countability nouns occur in direct construction with
numerals, for example, one woman, three dogs. Nouns with low countability, however,
occur with an additional item, such as one glass of water, two pounds of sand and three
plumes of smoke (Gil 2013). Malay numeral classifiers, on the other hand, classify objects
based on dimensionality, for example, a pen, a rigid one dimensional object is paired with
batang, as in ‘satu (one) batang (numeral classifier) pen’while flexible dimensional objects
such as a necklace are paired with utas, as in ‘satu (one) utas (numeral classifier) rantai
(necklace)’. Table 1 summarizes critical differences in plural structures between English
and Malay and shows, among other things, the complexity of each of the systems the child
has to learn simultaneously and eventually master.
Table 1 The competing plural structures
English
1) English plural is morphologically marked
on countable nouns by the inflectional
suffix -s.
Malay
1) Malay plurals are expressed in various
form of reduplications (Tadmor, 2009) e.g.,
anak ‘a child’; ‘anak-anak‘a group of
children’; guru ‘a teacher’ guru-guru
‘teachers; buku 'a book' buku-buku 'books'.
2) The plural inflection –s is variously
realized, according to phonotactic rules, as
-s, -z or -ez respectively when it follows
voiceless consonants (e.g. cats), voiced
segments (e.g. dogs) and stridents (e.g.
2) Reduplication is not always a simple
duplicate of the singular form. There are
also reduplications in which a suffix -an is
added (e.g. sayur-sayuran 'vegetables',
buah-buahan 'fruits') . Reduplication can
87
watches) (Ettlinger & Zapf, 2011).There are
some lexically determined irregular plural
forms, e.g., children, women. Some nouns
have the same form for singular and plural,
e.g., sheep, fish.
also be formed by changing some parts of
the duplicate, for example but ‘a hill’ to
bukit-bukau ‘hills’; lauk ‘ a meal’ to laukpauk ‘meals’. All countable nouns have a
reduplicated plural form.
3) Generic entities are expressed with
‘plural'-s if it is ‘countable’ e.g. I like
apples. Uncountable generic entities always
use the ‘singular’ form e.g. I like tea.
3) Generic entities in Malay are expressed
with singular forms e.g., saya suka epal ‘I
like apple’.
4) Uncountable nouns (e.g., tea, rice, bread)
do not have a plural form and may come
with a definite or indefinite quantifier e.g.
two pounds of rice, some cheese. English
also has an open class of words that are
similar to classifiers, often rigid in their
collocations i.e., a loaf of bread, a lump of
cheese, a herd of cows, a school of fish.
4) Malay is a classifier language. Classifiers
are used for countable nouns and
uncountable nouns E.g. Tiga ‘three’ ekor
‘tail’ (cl) kucing ‘cat (three cats) ; tiga
‘three’ buku ‘book’ (cl) roti ‘bread’ (three
loaves of bread)
3.
The Acquisition of Plurality in First Language Acquisition
(FLA) and BFLA
The morphological development of children acquiring English has been
investigated in numerous studies. Pioneering research by Berko-Gleason (1958), Cazden
(1968), Brown (1973) and de Villiers and de Villiers (1973) found that plural is among the
first bound morphemes acquired by English L1 children. Typically, children learning
English produce plural forms for highly frequent nouns, at around one year and six months
(1;06) but do not produce the plural in all required contexts until the age of four to seven
years. In a seminal experiment, Berko-Gleason (1958) presented her respondents, children
ranging from four to seven year olds, with a single novel item which she named wug and
asked the children to provide the plural form. However, she found that even early school
age children were not able to produce the regular plural consistently in all plural contexts.
An exhaustive literature search shows, however, that studies in Malay FLA on
children below the age of 4 have not been carried out. A relatively recent study
(Khairuddin and Winskel, 2009) does investigate the acquisition of Malay numeral
classifiers, but the informants are six to nine-year-old children. In this study, they found
that the production of Malay numeral classifiers is a prolonged developmental process as
even 9-year-old Malay L1 children still make errors in using numeral classifiers. Hence,
there is limited information about Malay L1 early development.
Following FLA literature on the plural acquisition, the question arises whether
plural development of bilingual children follows a sequence exhibited by English-speaking
88
children. In an early study, Chimombo (1979) analyzed the acquisition of morphemes by a
child exposed to English and Chichewa (a Bantu language of East Central Africa). It was
found that the child does not follow the sequence of morpheme acquisition reported by
Brown (1973), hence suggesting that the bilingual child's plural acquisition are different
from English L1 children. More recently, in Itani-Adams’(2007) BFLA research in
Japanese and English, she found that the English plural -s emerges relatively early; when
the child is 2;04. This finding is compatible with Brown’s (1973) L1 children plural
acquisition, which is around 1;11 to 2;06.
Studies investigating specific plural development in BFLA are very limited; the
sequence of plural acquisitions in bilingual children is not robust so it may well be
opportune to fill the gap.
4.
Methodology
This five-month longitudinal case study investigates how an English-Malay bilingual
acquirer develops plural marking in each of the two languages. The child is audio and
video recorded from 3;04 up till 3;09 over two different sessions, one 30 minute English
session and one 30 minute Malay session, on a weekly basis. Sessions are determined by
the language used by the adult interlocutor. Hence, if the adult speaks English the session is
counted as an English session. Likewise, if the adult speaks Malay, then it would be
counted as a Malay session. The child is also recorded while playing with other children in
the presence of her parent(s) and other children's parents, whose first language is English.
During both sessions, in addition to recording her spontaneous speech, picture tasks
eliciting linguistic expressions of single and multiple items are used. Recordings are later
transcribed and coded on ELAN, a software tool for language documentation.
4.1
The informant and linguistic background
The informant in this study is a girl named Rina (pseudonym). She was born in Malaysia
where she lived with her Malaysian parents until she moved to Australia when she was
1;11. Rina was exposed to both English and Malay from birth when she lived in Malaysia
since her parents opted for the one parent, one language input approach (Romaine, 1995).
Her father spoke Malay to her, and her mother spoke English. Between the parents, the
medium of communication is Malay. The variety of English used by the mother to talk to
Rina in Malaysia is Malaysian English. Malaysian English is the nativised variety of
English in Malaysia.
In Australia, the parents no longer use the one parent one language approach but
instead they opted for “context-bound language input and use in one language, one
environment setting” (Qi, 2011, p.6) in order to continue providing Malay input. Thus, in
the home domain the input is entirely in the Malay language, except for some TV viewing
time. On the other hand Rina is exposed to English when she is outside the home domain,
e.g. her kindergarten. Her mother (henceforth referred to as Mother) and father (henceforth
referred to as Father) were both born in Malaysia and raised in monolingual Malay
families. The family is a middle-class family; Father and Mother both acquired their
diplomas from local universities in Malaysia. In terms of English language proficiency,
89
Mother’s English is native-like in (Malay) English as she completed her bachelor’s degree
in English Language and Literature.
During the first two years of Rina’s life, the Malay language was dominant. The
only English input she had was from Mother for several hours per day at home. All other
persons and contexts would provide Malay input. When she started speaking at 1;04 she
started with Malay. Some utterances described by Mother at this stage were “ayah”
(father), “jom” (let’s go), “hai” (hi) and “bai” (bye-bye). Rina did not speak English at all
though she understood Mother, who continued to talk to her in Malaysian English variety
at home for 3-4 hours daily. During this period, Malay was Rina’s dominant language.
Based on Meisel (2007) the nature of dominant and weaker language only pertains to the
presence and frequency of use. The language that is highly used and activated is considered
the dominant language. In the context of Rina’s life in Malaysia, Malay was the dominant
language and English, because of the limited input condition, was her weaker language.
Mother and Father moved to Australia when Rina was 1;11. English gradually
became the dominant language. According to Mother, Rina said her first English word
“more” at 2;01, a month after she started attending a local childcare centre. Mother and
Father speak Malay to Rina at home. Rina goes to the childcare centre four days a week
from 8 am till 4 pm. On average, Rina is exposed to Australian English for eight hours
daily and to Malay four hours daily. Her Malay language input is also limited by the fact
that Father is frequently absent from home because of work. At times, Malay input is
highly activated due to visits from relatives from Malaysia or occasional trips to Malaysia,
which might last for a month or so.
4.2
Data Analysis
The recordings are transcribed on ELAN. Each singular and plural output of the child in
singular and plural contexts are tagged in ELAN. After the transcription of the recordings,
the plural output of the child in plural contexts is classified into several heuristic categories.
The categories are explained in the following table:
Table 2 Plural categories
Plural categories
Definition of the categories
Default form
When the child is shown a picture of
plural items, the child uses the same
form she uses for the single entity.
Iteration
The child iterates the lexicon based on
the number of the items. Thus, the
more item she sees, the more she
repeats the word.
When shown pictures of plural items,
Counting
Example from the
corpus
Cat
dog
kucing (cat)
anjing (dog)
cat cat cat cat
dog dog dog dog
kucing kucing kucing
anjing anjing anjing
One two three four
90
Plural -s (English
plural)
Reduplication
(Malay plural)
Indefinite
quantifiers with
default form
Indefinite
quantifiers with
English plural -s
Numeral
quantifiers with
default form
Numeral
quantifiers with
English plural -s
Prolonged vowel
(iconic plural)
the child only counts the items (without
uttering the noun).
The child uses plural -s to express
plurals.
Satu dua tiga empat
The child uses reduplication to express
plurals. However, to avoid confusion
with iteration, reduplication in the
corpus is classified only when the child
refers to more than two items.
The child uses indefinite quantifiers
such as lots of, many and banyak with
default form to express plurals in
phrasal constructions.
The child uses indefinite quantifiers
lots of and many with English plural -s
to refer to more than one items.
The child uses numeral quantifiers such
as ten and two with default form to
express plurals in phrasal
constructions.
The child uses numeral quantifiers such
as four with English plural -s to express
plurals in phrasal constructions.
The child prolongs the frequency of a
particular vowel in the lexicon to
differentiate it from a single item (in
single words).
cat-cat
dog-dog
kucing-kucing
anjing-anjing
cats
dogs
mainans (toys)
Lots of book
Many pig
Banyak cat
Banyak kucing
Lots of books
Many apples
Many bees
Ten flower
Two car
Four brooms
Frooog
Bolaaaaa (ball)
Bukuuuuu (buku)
5. Results and Discussion
After the transcriptions in ELAN, the output of the child in plural contexts is counted.
Graphs 1 and 2 below show the output of the child in plural contexts from age 3;04 to
3;09. Figure 1 shows output in English contexts and Figure 2 shows output in Malay
contexts. The x-axis marks the age of the child while the y-axis represents the number
of occurrences distributed according to the categories presented in Table 2.
91
Total
100
90
Default form
80
Iteration
70
Counting
60
50
Indefinite quantifiers
with default form
40
Indefinite quantifiers
with English plural [-s]
30
Numeral quantifiers with
default form
20
Numeral quantifiers with
English plural [-s]
10
English plural [-s]
0
3;4
3;5
3;6
3;7
3;8
3;9
Prolonged vowel
Figure 1 Plural development in English context from age 3;4 to 3;9.
60
Total
50
Default form
iteration
40
Counting
30
Indefinite quantifiers
with default form
Indefinite quantifiers
with English plural [-s]
English plural [-s]
20
10
Prolonged vowel
0
3;4
3;5
3;6
3;7
3;8
3;9
Reduplication
Figure 2 Plural development in Malay context from age 3;4 to 3;9
92
In the following, our findings will be discussed according to the research questions raised
earlier;
a) How does the bilingual child simultaneously develop the plural expression system in
English and Malay respectively?
Results represented in Figures 1 and 2 show that the child developed
simultaneously, two different plural systems in English and Malay respectively. In Figure 1
(English plural context), the child began with very a low plural output at age 3;04 and 3;05.
Iteration (e.g., cat cat cat cat) and default form (e.g. cat) emerged at 3;04 and 3;05
although the number of occurrences is below 10. However, at 3;06, there was a surge in the
occurrences of plural output, particularly the English plural -s (e.g., cats, dogs). Default
form, iteration and counting (e.g. one two three four) were also present at 3;06. Thus,
several competing strategies expressing plurals coexisted at this stage. The spurt from 3;05
to 3;06 was commensurate with the child's general lexical development in English. The
child acquired more words in English hence the spurt in the plural output. At 3;07,
indefinite quantifiers with default form (e.g. lots of book, many pig) emerged with ten
occurrences. Such phrasal constructions were not observed previously. Interestingly, at the
same session at 3;07, default form (single word) increased and became the most frequently
used strategy for the child to mark plurals in English. At 3;08, default form continued to
increase. This may indicate that when the child started to mark “plural” with indefinite
quantifiers such as many and lots of, she tended to drop plural morpheme –s on nouns. So
at this stage, the child tended to mark plural on only one element in the noun phrase,
possibly to avoid redundancy. At this stage, the child also used English plural -s, iteration
and counting. One further strategy emerged at 3;08: prolonged vowel (e.g., frooog) to
indicate ‘many frogs’, with two occurrences.
At 3;09, three new plural categories emerged; indefinite quantifiers with English
plural -s (e.g. lots of books, many apples), numeral quantifiers with default form (e.g. ten
flower, two car) and numeral quantifiers with English plural -s (e.g. four brooms) in
coexistence with the default form in English context (the unmarked form is still quite
frequent). Indefinite quantifiers with default form increased and became the second most
frequently used plural expression after default form. Thus at 3;09 the child became able to
produce plural agreement (or unification) between the numeral quantifiers and the head
noun of the phrase thus establishing a grammaticalised construction in English.
In Figure 2 (Malay context), a different pattern of plural strategies can be
discerned. The child begins producing more plural output in Malay than in English when
the recording commenced. At 3;04, she tended to use iteration (e.g., kucing kucing kucing
'cat cat cat') to mark plurals. Counting (e.g. satu dua tiga empat 'one two three four') and
default form (single words, e.g., kucing 'cat') were also present but in lower frequencies.
The following month, at age 3;05, the child still predominantly used iteration. Indefinite
quantifiers with default form (e.g., banyak kucing 'many cat') also appears at 3;05, which is
two months earlier than the emergence of indefinite quantifiers with default form (e.g many
cat) in English context. So at this stage Rina’s stronger language is still Malay.
93
At 3;06, iteration is still used predominantly by the child. Interestingly, the use of
English plural -s (e.g., cats, dogs) also increases significantly in Malay context. It is
observed during the recording sessions in Malay context that the child often used English
lexicon. Only when the child is reminded of the equivalent word in Malay for the items,
then she will use the Malay word. Interestingly, the exponential increase of English plural
-s in English context at 3;06 is comparable to the rise of English plural -s in Malay context.
For English plural -s in Malay context, there are a few instances when the child uses Malay
lexicon (e.g. mainan 'a toy') with the -s plural (e.g mainans 'toys'). The following
conversation from the corpus illustrates this context:
1) Child : Mommy I want mainans (pointing to a bucket of toys)
Mother : Nak mainan-mainan?
want toys?
'Do you want toys?'
Child : No, mainans (pointing to a bucket of toys)
The following month, at age 3;07, the production of default form increased.
Iteration was still used, followed by counting, English plural -s and indefinite quantifiers
with default form. Prolonged vowel (e.g., bolaaaaa) also emerges at 3;07, a month earlier
than prolonged vowel in English context. At age 3;08, iteration are used predominantly
again by the child. Also at 3;08, reduplication (e.g. kucing-kucing 'cat-cat'), which is the
target form to mark plurals in Malay, emerge with two occurrences. Finally at 3;09, the
child uses mainly the default form to mark more-than-one items. Iteration comes second,
followed by indefinite quantifiers with default form, English plural -s , prolonged vowel
and reduplication. Indefinite quantifiers with English plural -s (e.g. banyak toys 'many
toys') also appears at 3;09. For Malay reduplication, the child has yet to use any alternative
form of reduplications such as with suffix -an (e.g. buah-buahan 'fruits', sayur-sayuran
'vegetables') or reduplication with changes in the repeated word (e.g. kuih-muih 'cakes',
lauk-pauk 'meals', bukit-bukau 'hills').
There were also certain plural-marking strategies used by the child in one
language that is not used at all in the other language. For instance, in English context, at
3;08 and 3;09, the child used numeral quantifiers with default form (e.g. ten flower) and
numeral quantifiers with English plural -s (e.g. four brooms). However, these strategies did
not exist in Malay context. Similarly, in Malay context, at 3;08, reduplication (e.g. bukubuku 'books') emerged. This too was only used by the child strictly in Malay.
b) Does the child exhibit cross-linguistic influence from the two developing
languages in her plural development?
Based on the findings, there are systematic differences in marking plural in the
two languages. As mentioned, there were particular strategies used by the child strictly in
one language which did not appear in the other language. Nevertheless, despite having two
different ways of marking plurals in English and Malay, it was also manifested in the two
graphs that some plural categories that appeared in one language were also used
occasionally in the other language. For instance, iteration, which the child used to mark
plurals predominantly in Malay context was also used in English context (e.g. cat cat cat,
94
dog dog dog dog) though with lower frequencies. Likewise, the English plural -s which the
child frequently used in English context, also appeared occasionally in Malay context (e.g.
mainans 'toys').
Therefore, although the expression of plurality in each language is increasingly
differentiated, the child uses all the emerging strategies in both languages which can be
said to exhibit interaction across languages in the early stages of plural development.
6.
Conclusion
This study investigated the development of plural marking in a bilingual child acquiring
English and Malay simultaneously from birth. The child’s speech productions in both
English and Malay were analysed in terms of the different strategies the child deployed in
marking plurality from 3;04 to 3;09. Different preferences and patterns of development in
English and Malay were observed although there were also sharing of strategies between
the languages such as the use of the –s suffix and iteration in both languages. In English the
path to grammaticalization of plural number may be summarised as follows:
Single word > iteration> -s mark > indefinite quantifier with default form (phrasal)>
numerical quantifier with default form (phrasal)> indefinite and numerical quantifiers with
–s. In Malay, the development of plural number can be summarised as follows : Iteration >
indefinite quantifiers with default form (phrasal) > -s mark > single word > reduplication >
indefinite quantifiers with -s (phrasal).
To conclude the results, the child appears to be developing two distinct systems to
express pluralities in each language. However, our findings also exhibit that though the
plural development is differentiated, there are bidirectional cross-linguistic influences from
Malay to English (i.e. use of iteration) and English to Malay (i.e. plural -s) at certain
developmental points.
95
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97
Code-switching among the Arab EFL Undergraduate
Students In Terms of Motivation and Identity
Tasdiq Nomaira Alam1, Aliaa Kahwaji2
1
International Islamic University Malayasia, Malaysia, [email protected]
International Islamic University Malayasia, Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Abstract
Arabic-English code-switching has become an obvious phenomenon among Arabs since
English is regarded as the most common second language learned and used in the Arab
world due to its importance in all areas of life. This study aims to investigate the
occurrence of code-switching among Arab undergraduate students and the reasons and
motivations that encourage them to switch from Arabic to English while communicating
orally or via social networking websites with their friends or family members who have the
same native linguistic background. In addition, it sheds light on the impact of English on
the Arabic language and Arab identity from the students’ perspective. To accomplish the
objective set for this study, the researchers used questionnaires that include closed-ended
statements as well as open-ended questions. Thirty copies of the questionnaire were given
to 13 female and 17 male university students. The findings of the study reveal that
expressing oneself better, not being able to find suitable equivalents for some English
words in Arabic, and improving English speaking skills were some of the reasons why
most Arab students would resort to code-switching. Interestingly, around 70% of the
students believed that code-switching would have a negative impact on Arabic as it could
weaken the ability to express oneself in Arabic fluently. In addition, many words would be
threatened with extinction and replaced by English words. Although Arab students tended
to mix languages as they live in an English speaking environment, many of them showed a
positive attitude towards their mother tongue considered as a significant part of their
identity and gave several suggestions to maintain it such as teaching Arabic to children and
non-Arabic speakers, reading Quran, Arabic books and stories, practicing classical Arabic,
holding conferences, etc.
Keywords: Code switching, EFL students, Motivation, Identity
Biodata: Tasdiq Nomaira Alam obtained her Masters from International Islamic University
Malaysia. She also earned her TESL diploma from College of Educators, Canada. She has
several years of teaching experience in Middle East and East Asia.
Alia Kahwaji obtained her Masters from International Islamic University Malaysia. She is
also a PhD student in International Islamic University Malaysia. She has several years of
teaching experience in Malaysia.
98
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background of the study
Code switching is a very common phenomenon in societies where more than one language
is used for communication. Bilingual speakers tend to code switch from one language to
another in order to express their identities and the way they perceive the world (Heredia
and Jeanette, 2001). In addition, according to Gardner-Chloros (2009) as quoted by
Alfaifi (2013) in her study titled code-switching among bilingual Saudi on facebook, codeswitching is defined as a phenomenon that can be seen obviously in bilingual interactions,
when people who speak the same languages replace a word or phrase in one language by
another word or phrase in a second language.
Armia (2009) asserts that code switching can be either intersentential which
involves shifting from one language to another between sentences, or intrasentential which
usually occurs inside the same sentence on both morpheme and clause levels. Interestingly,
Gal (1979) as cited in Abdul-Zahra (2010) asserts that some bilingual speakers tend to
code-switch from one language to another while interacting with monolingual speakers.
This linguistic behavior is attributed to their desire to look more cool or stylish, or to be
viewed as experts in some areas, or to get the feeling that they are more superior to their
audience. Moreover, Gal argues that age and language choice patterns are strongly
correlated. Therefore, it could be said that older speakers usually prefer using their native
language, whereas younger speakers tend to use modern speech style and code-switching
while interacting with others. It is worth mentioning that Al Qudhai’een (2003) states that
code-switching can be obvious among bilinguals who have the same native linguistic
background. Therefore, language proficiency of the speakers and their social environment
play a key role in determining the frequency of shifting from one language to another in a
conversation.
Grumperz (as cited in Armia, 2009) divides code-switching into two types;
conversational and situational. Conversational code-switching is defined as mixing
between two different grammatical systems or subsystems within the same conversation.
This type of code-switching occurs unconsciously when speakers concentrate on the
conversation itself. On the other hand, situational code-switching occurs in different
situations where speakers have to make changes in language choices based on the needs
required for every situation. It is worth noting that this type of code-switching occurs in
situations that require using formal language such as school, work, etc.
Language and ethnicity according to Fishman (1989) as quoted by Vela’squez
(2010), “are seen as the basic building blocks of human society”. Thus, language is
considered as a way to strengthen and reflect societies’ beliefs and rules. Moreover,
Vela’squez (2010) claims that language and identity are tightly connected. Therefore,
bilinguals will be forced to recreate their identities when they are in a context in which they
have to communicate with others using their second language.
99
1.2
Problem Statement
It has been reported, according to Hanani (2009), that Arabic-English code-switching has
become an obvious phenomenon among Arabs since English is regarded as the most
common second language learned and used in the Arab world due to its importance in all
life areas. Therefore, Arabs tend to use a mixture of both Arabic and English when they
communicate orally or online with people whether they are Arabs or foreigners including
their families and friends. This can be also obvious among the Arab EFL undergraduate
students at IIUM who come from different Arab countries and share the same language,
religious beliefs, ethnicity and culture.
According to Altwaijri (2004) as quoted by Hanani (2009), “the power of a
language derives from the power of its speakers” Therefore, it could be said that Arab
speakers who tend to use English in their daily conversations with their fellow Arabs may
not show enough respect towards their mother tongue as they may perceive English as a
language that is superior to Arabic. As a result, their identity may be negatively influenced
by the English language.
Badry (2007) as cited in Hanani (2009) asserts that “giving more importance to
learning English may endanger “mother languages.” In addition, she believes that the
identity of young Arabs especially of those who belong to elite social classes may have
been badly influenced by English to the extent that they have started to move away from
their culture and to be unable to think and produce knowledge in Arabic.
This study aims at finding the motivations that encourage Arab students at IIUM
to shift from Arabic to English while talking to their friends and family members who have
the same native linguistic background. Moreover, this study will shed light on the impact of
the English language on constructing Arab identity.
1.3
Objective of the study
1.The objective of the current study is to investigate the reasons behind codeswitching among Arab students at IIUM while interacting with their families and friends
orally or via Facebook.
2. It also aims at investigating the impact of the use of the English language on
shaping Arab identity.
1.4
Research Questions
1.What are the motivations that lead Arabs to switch languages when they interact
with their Arab friends or family members orally or via Facebook?
2.How do Arabs perceive the impact of code-switching and the use of English on
constructing their identity?
1.5
Theoretical Framework
Two theoretical concerns are adopted in this study. The first one is suggested by Gal
(1979) who asserts that some bilingual speakers tend to code-switch from one language to
another while interacting with monolingual speakers. This linguistic behavior is attributed
to their desire to look more cool or stylish, or to be viewed as experts in some areas, or to
100
get the feeling that they are more superior to their audience. This theory will be tested in
this study to figure out whether or not Arab bilinguals tend to switch codes while
interacting with monolingual speakers and to discover the specific motivations behind this
behavior.
The second theoretical concern is related to language and identity. Badry (2007)
asserts that “giving more importance to learning English may endanger “mother
languages.” Moreover, Language and ethnicity according to Fishman (1989) as quoted by
Vela’squez (2010) “are seen as the basic building blocks of human society”. Language
plays an important role in shaping one’s identity. Therefore, this study is going to shed
light on the impact of using English on shaping Arab bilinguals identities.
2.0
Literature Review
This section covers definitions related to code-switching, motivations behind codeswitching and previous studies on code-switching among Arabic-English bilinguals.
2.1
Definition of Code-Switching:
Code-switching has been defined by several researchers. Timm (1975) defines CS as cited
in Al Qudhai’een (2003) as a method of communication used by bilinguals who shift
frequently from one language to another during a conversation. Gumperz (1976) describes
CS as quoted by Jdetawy (2011) as “the juxtaposition of passages of speech belonging to
two different grammatical systems or subsystems”.
Furthermore, there are three important definitions of code-switching cited in
Jdetawy (2011). The first one is by Grosjean who defines code-switching as using two or
more languages alternatively in a conversation. This can be seen on a word, phrase, or
sentence level. Spolsky (1998) perceives code-switching as a phenomenon that occurs
among bilinguals who use two common languages while interacting with others. This
phenomenon takes place in sentences, phrases, words, or parts of words. The definition of
code-switching according to Skiba (1997) refers to using two languages or dialects
alternatively among people who can interact together using the same languages or dialects.
According to Fong (2011), many studies have been conducted on code-switching
occurring in verbal communication. Bilinguals tend not to focus on the conversation itself
while interacting verbally with others as conversation is spontaneous, but they concentrate
on conveying ideas very well and being understood.
On the other hand, online non-verbal communication has spread widely among
bilinguals since there are several means that help them communicate easily such as instant
messaging, e-mail, and social networks. It’s worth mentioning that, non-verbal
communication allows people to edit and revise what has been written before being sent.
Thus, it could be said that bilinguals are aware of their code-switching behavior and they
do it intentionally as they have time to think before writing any single word. However, the
101
reasons behind online- non-verbal code-switching behavior differ from the reasons related
to verbal code-switching (Fong,2011).
2.2
Motivations behind code-switching
According to Heredia and Jeanette (2001), many researchers claim that code-switching is a
result of language deficiency. They argue that bilinguals are not good enough at either
languages. Therefore, they tend to switch between two languages while communicating
with others in order to compensate for this deficiency. However, this claim has three major
problems. The first one is that not being able to remember a word which is considered as a
common phenomenon among bilinguals cannot be regarded as a sign of language
deficiency since some words are not used frequently. Moreover, this claim failed to explain
that code-switching should be grammatically correct. The last problem related to this claim
is that language deficiency is ambiguous as the previous claim mentioned failed to define it
clearly.
According to Cohen and Thomas as cited in Alenezi (2001), the motivations
behind code-switching are divided into two categories. The first one is to make up for
language deficiency and the second one is the desire to belong to a certain social group.
On the other hand, Heredia and Altarriba (2001) as cited in Alenezi (2001) argue
that bilinguals prefer code-switching as it makes others understand them more. In addition,
code-switching for some bilinguals is a way to feel that they belong to a certain social
group. However, Scotton (1989) as cited in Alenezi (2001) tried to find the reasons behind
code-switching among people who share the same native linguistic background. She asserts
that code-switching is a way to attract listeners’ attention and to create social distance.
Empirical studies have revealed that code-switching is not a useless linguistic
behavior or even an indication of language deficiency. Thus, code-switching can be
attributed to social, psychological, linguistic, cultural, or political reasons (Alenezi, 2001).
2.3
Studies on code-switching among Arabic-English bilinguals
There are several studies conducted on code-switching among Arabic-English bilinguals.
Alfaifi (2013) conducted a study about code-switching among bilingual Saudis on
Facebook. This study aimed at investigating the use of intrasentential code-switching on
Facebook. The data included 1000 comments collected from the facebook pages of 10
Saudi females. Moreover, the data was analyzed and categorized according to several
topics that included gossip, humor, technology, compliments and thanking, movies and
songs, family, make up, and religion. The results of this study revealed that intrasentential
code-switching is a common phenomenon that occurs frequently during interacting with
others informally on Facebook.
Another study was conducted by Alsbiai (2011) about code-switching between
Arabic and English among Saudi speakers in Jeddah. This study aimed at finding out
whether code-switching is more common among males or females bilinguals in Jeddah. It
102
also, aimed at finding out the reasons behind this linguistic behavior. The data of this
empirical study was collected through a questionnaire and an indirect interview-chatting
with the participants, which would allow the researcher to get more accurate answers.
The results of this study revealed that female speakers use code-switching more
than males. Furthermore, Females consider CS as a sign of prestige and education. On the
other hand, male speakers tend to switch codes less than females as they are not good
enough at English and they are uninterested in code-switching since they are proud of their
local dialect.
Arabic- English code-switching among Arab students at UUM, Malaysia is a
study conducted by Jedetawy (2011) to investigate the frequency of using code-switching
in the daily conversations of Arab students and to find out the reasons behind this linguistic
behavior. It also aimed to shed light on the most common types of code-switching used by
Arab students at UUM and to see whether or not there is a relationship between familiarity
with interlocutors and codes-witching.
The finding of this study revealed that most of Arab students at UUM tend to shift
from one language to another during their daily conversations. Moreover, one of the major
reasons that motivate Arab students to use code-switching is the lack of equivalents of
many English words in Arabic. This study showed also that the most common type of
code-switching used by Arab students at UUM is tag- switching.
The majority of studies conducted on code-switching among Arab bilinguals have
overlooked discussing the impact of the use of code-switching on shaping Arab identity
and affecting the Arabic language negatively. Therefore, this study aims at investigating
the motivations behind verbal and non-verbal code-switching among Arabic-English
bilingual students at IIUM and its impact on Arab identity and the Arabic language.
3.0 Methodology
This part of the paper describes the methodology used in this study. It covers the following
sections; instruments and data collection, population and sampling, and data analysis.
3.1. Research Design
This study aims at collecting qualitative and quantitative data. Survey was the research
design adopted in this study as the researcher used a questionnaire as an instrument to
collect data.
3.2. Population and sampling
The participants of this study were 60 Arab bilingual students who study at IIUM; 30 of
whom completed the questionnaire and were interviewed indirectly, whereas the rest of
them were observed online through their comments on Facebook to analyze their code-
103
switching behavior. It could be said that the number of participants was enough to get an
accurate result to support the study. The participants were aged between 19-26. In fact their
age played a great role in getting more precise answers from them since it is well known
that people who belong to this age group are usually mature enough and aware of their way
of interacting and communicating with others. All the participants were native speakers of
Arabic, and English was their second language which was learned at school. In addition,
they were regarded as homogeneous in terms of language, religion, and culture. It’s worth
mentioning that they came from different countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria,
Yemen, Kuwait, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia, Sudan, and Algeria to pursue a university degree.
3.3. Instruments and Data Collection
To answer the research questions and to accomplish the objective set for this study, the
researcher adopted a questionnaire used in Hanani’s (2009) study to obtain the information
needed regarding code switching and the impact of the English language on Arabic. The
questionnaire was divided into two parts; closed-ended statements and open-ended
questions. The total number of items included in the questionnaire was 25. Thirty copies of
the questionnaire were given to 13 female and 17 male participants. However, to get more
accurate answers, the researcher interviewed the respondents indirectly by using Arabic
language to observe whether or not they switch codes while talking to those who speak
only one language or others who are Arabic-English bilinguals.
The researcher used 51 comments taken from a facebook page dedicated to ArabIIUM students as another instrument to analyze the respondents’ code-switching behavior
during online and written interaction. It’s worth noting that to answer any of the two
research questions; the researcher had to use all the previously mentioned instruments.
3.4. Data Analysis
The data collected for the current study was analyzed in terms of the frequency of codeswitching and the reasons behind this linguistic phenomenon. The responses to the
questionnaire items were analyzed carefully to figure out how the respondents perceived
the influence of code-switching and the use of English on constructing Arab identity.
Furthermore, the comments collected from Facebook were translated and the most common
English words used during a conversation were identified.
4.0 Results and Discussions
This section is divided into two parts. The first one shows and discuses the results gained
from the questionnaire, whereas the second part deals with analyzing and discussing the
comments collected from Facebook. It’s worth noting that both parts answer the two
research questions of this study simultaneously.
104
4.1 -Questionnaire Results and Discussion:
After thirty participants completed the questionnaire, the number of each answer chosen
was counted and put in the tables below.
Table 1: Participants’ responses to the first statement (I speak English to):
1
Alwa
Often
Someti
mes
ys
Parents
-
-
Rarely
6
8
(26.6%)
8
(26.6%)
13
(43.3%)
8
(26.6%)
-
(20%)
Siblings
1
-
2
(6.66%)
-
-
3
27
3
(3.3%)
Relative
s
Arab
Friends
NonArab friends
14
(46.66%)
4
(13.3%)
15
(50%)
-
(10%)
(90%)
Neve
r
16
(53.3%)
5
(16.6%)
13
(43.3%)
4
(13.3%)
-
(10%)
According to table 1 which shows the number of participants who preferred to use
English with their parents, siblings, relatives, and friends, English was not always used
with parents, relatives, and Arab friends. Only 3.3% of the respondents indicated that they
used English all the time with their siblings and 6.66% used it often with them. Also,
findings revealed that the percentages of respondents who “never” used English with their
parents and relatives were 53.3% and 43.3% respectively. On the contrary, 20% of the
participants stated that they “sometimes” spoke English to their parents and 13.3% of them
used English sometimes with their relatives. However, the percentages were noticeably
higher with siblings and Arab friends, as 46.66% responded that they used English
sometimes with their siblings and 50% with their Arab friends.
Table 2: Participants’ responses to the second statement (I speak Arabic to):
2
Alwa
Often
Som
etimes
ys
Parents
21
(70%)
Siblings
15
(50%)
Relatives
Arab Friends
Non-Arab
friends
18
(60%)
8
(26.66%)
-
8
(26.6%)
13(43.3
%)
12
(40%)
16
(53.33%)
-
1(3.3
Ra
Neve
rely
r
-
-
-
1(3.3
-
-
-
4
(13.33%)
2
(6.66%)
1
1(3.3
%)
1
(3.3%)
%)
(3.3%)
7(2
3.3%)
%)
21
(70%)
Based on table 2 showing the number of participants who preferred to use Arabic
with their parents, siblings, relatives, and friends, findings showed that Arabic was broadly
used with the family especially parents, whereas it was less used with friends in general.
70% and 60% of the respondents stated that they used Arabic all the time with their parents
and relatives respectively. However, the percentages decreased with siblings and Arab
friends as 50% and 26.6% of the participants always used Arabic with their siblings and
105
Arab friends respectively. On the contrary, findings revealed that only few participants
never spoke Arabic to their siblings and Arab friends, as only 3.3% of them stated that they
never used it with their siblings, 3.3% never did with their Arab friends, and only 3.3% said
that they rarely used it with their Arab friends.
Table 3: Participants’ responses to statements a, b, c, and d.
3
a- I like to
read in English
b- I like to
write in English
Strongly
Agree
A
8
(26.66%)
1
5
(16.6%)
c- I like to
read in my first
language
12
(40%)
d- I like to
write in my first
language
10
(33.3%)
N
gree
1
1
(
36.66%)
1
7
(
56.66%)
1
3
(
43.3%)
1
4
(
46.66%)
Di
sagree
eutral
Strongly
Disagree
1
0
--
(
(3.3%)
33.3%)
7
(
1
-23.3%)
4
(3.3%)
1
--
(13.3%)
5
(
(3.3%)
1
(3.
16.6%)
-3%)
According to the participants’ responses to statements a, b, c, and d shown in table 3
which shows their preferences for reading and writing in Arabic and English, findings
revealed that 83.3% and 79.9% of the respondents agreed that they liked to read and write
in Arabic respectively. However, only 3.3% showed their disinterest in reading and writing
in their mother tongue. On the contrary, findings showed that 63.3% and 73.3 of the
participants liked to read and write in English respectively. However, only 6.6% showed
their disagreement with reading and writing in English, whereas the rest remained neutral
in this regard.
106
Table 4: Participants’ responses to statements e, f, g, and h.
4
e- I speak my
mother tongue because
I can express myself
better
f- I speak
English because
I can express
myself better
g- Speaking
only English affects
my cultural
identity
h- Mixing
English with
my first
language is bad for my
first language
Strongly
Agree
12
(40%)
A
N
gree
1
eutral
3
1
(3.
3
(
Di
sagree
(10%)
Strongly
Disagree
1
(3.3%)
3%)
43.3%)
2
(6.66%)
5
(
1
6
16.6%)
6
(2
(
1
(3.3%)
0%)
53.3%)
5
(16.6%)
7
(
4
(
23.3%)
7
(23.3%)
1
2
(
7
(2
13.3%)
6
(
7
(23.3%)
3.3%)
2
(6.
20%)
3
(10%)
66%)
40%)
According to the participants’ responses to statements ‘e’ and ‘f’ shown in table 4,
findings revealed that the majority of the students (83.3%) preferred to speak Arabic more
than English, as opposed to 23.2% of the students who favored English over Arabic to
express themselves better.
Statement ‘g’ “speaking only English affects my cultural identity” aimed at finding
out whether or not participants believed that English would affect their cultural identity.
Therefore, by combining their responses showed their agreement and disagreement in this
respect, the findings revealed that 39.9% of the students believed speaking only English
would affect their cultural identity, whereas 46.6% of them disagreed.
Regarding statement ‘h’, findings showed that only 16.6% of the participants stated
that mixing English with Arabic would not affect Arabic negatively, whereas 63.3% agreed
that mixing the two languages would have a bad effect on Arabic. 20% of the participants
remained neutral in this regard.
107
Table 5: Participants’ responses to statements I, j, and k.
5
I- If I do not
speak my
first language it
will disappear
j- There is no
risk of losing my mother
tongue even if I do not
use it much
k- Maintaining
my first language is my
responsibility
Strong
ly Agree
Ag
1
(3.3%)
8
(26.
66%)
5
(
4
(13.
5
(
2
(6.66%)
16
(53.3%
N
ree
7
(2
3.3%)
16.6%)
9
(30%)
3.3%)
1
(3.
(10%)
Strongly
Disagree
9
(30%)
10
(3
3
3%)
Di
sagree
16.6%)
3%)
10
(33.
)
eutral
-3%)
By combining the students’ responses indicated their agreement and disagreement to
statements ‘I, j, and k’ shown in table 5, findings revealed that 29.3% of the respondents
believed that their language would disappear if they didn’t speak it, whereas more that half
of them didn’t believe so. However, only 16.6% of them remained neutral.
Regarding statement ‘j’, 63.3% of the respondents believed that there was no risk of
losing their mother tongue even if they did not use it much. However, 19.9% believed that
there was a risk of losing it if they did not use it. Also, findings revealed that the vast
majority, almost 86.6% of the participants believed that maintaining the Arabic language
was their responsibility, whereas only 3.3% of them believed it was not their responsibility.
Moreover, 10% of them were neutral in this regard.
Participants’ Responses to Open-Ended Question:
The second part of the questionnaire contained four open ended questions which allowed
the respondents to express their opinion freely about their linguistic practices and choices
which, in turn, helped the researcher to discover more about the respondents’ linguistic
behavior and background. It is worth noting that 20 Arab students responded to the
questions using Arabic, whereas only 10 students responded using English.
The findings from responses to open-ended Q1 revealed that mixing both languages
mostly occurred in Arab-Arab interactions as 60% of the respondents indicated that the
code mixing was practiced with their Arab friends and anybody who has the same
linguistic background, while 40% stated that they used both languages with their families,
spouse and relatives.
The second open-ended question required the participants to state some reasons to
justify their linguistic behavior. 50% of the respondents said that code switching helped
them communicate better with others and express themselves fully as sometimes they faced
difficulties in finding the right equivalents for some words in Arabic. One of the
respondents said: “Sometimes I forget the right word in Arabic or I don’t find a suitable
one, so I say it in English.” This corresponds with Heredia and Altarriba (2001) as cited in
108
Alenezi (2001) who argued that bilinguals prefer code-switching as it makes others
understand them more. In addition, code- switching for some bilinguals is a way to feel that
they belong to a certain social group. Similarly, the results of Jedetawy’s study (2011)
revealed that one of the major reasons that motivate Arab students to use code-switching
was the lack of equivalents of many English words in Arabic.
On the other hand, 30% stated that they mixed languages intentionally to improve
their speaking skills, whereas 20% attributed their linguistic behavior to the fact that their
Arabic language skills were not as good as their English language skills since they were
studying in international schools. Therefore, they preferred to mix both languages while
communicating with others. One of them stated, “In my case, mixing both languages
happens naturally as I was studying in an international school and most of my friends were
foreigners.” It could be said that this proves Cohen and Thomas’s claim (1983) as cited in
Alenezi (2001) which was about the two categories of the motivations behind codeswitching. The first one was to make up for language deficiency, while the second one was
the desire to belong to a certain social group.
The results of the third open-ended question, which aimed to find out whether or not
the respondents thought that English could affect their mother tongue in one way or
another, revealed that 70% of the participants believed English had a negative impact on
Arabic as many Arabic words would be threatened with extinction and would be replaced
by English ones. This corresponds with what Badry (2007) stated “giving more importance
to learning English may endanger mother languages.” In addition, the respondents
attributed their decreasing fluency in Arabic to the fact that English could weaken the
ability to express oneself in Arabic fluently. On the contrary, 30% of the participants stated
that English had no effect on their mother tongue at all.
The last open-ended question required the respondents to give their opinion about
how to maintain the Arabic language in the current age of globalization. 85% of the
students indicated that Arabic could be maintained by speaking the language, teaching it to
children, and reading Quran, Arabic books and stories, while 15% stated that it could be
maintained by teaching it to non-Arabic speakers, holding conferences and organizing
awareness campaigns, and practicing classical Arabic regularly. Some respondents stated
that “It is very important to maintain the Arabic language, the language of Quran, as it
reflects our identity as Muslims and Arabs.” This could be linked to Fishman’s statement
(1989) quoted by Vela’squez (2010) “Language and ethnicity are seen as the basic building
block of human society” as language plays a significant role in shaping one’s identity.
4.2- Facebook Comments Results and Discussion:
This section shows the analysis and results of 51 comments written by 32 bilingual Arab
users of Facebook. The comments are collected from five posts taken from a Facebook
page dedicated to Arab IIUM students. The analysis of each post and its comments is
presented separately and categorized according to the following sections; general services,
academic matters, religious events, humor, and jobs. It is worth mentioning that the Arabic
comments are translated into English and the English words written in Arabic letters are
underlined and typed in bold.
109
General Services Topic -- Facebook Post 1:
Ahmad K: .IIUM ‫غرفة متوسطة لإليجار بجانب‬
Medium room for rent near IIUM
May 4 at 7:00 PM.. 50 people like this.
1.
Saber A: Hello,how much& can send me the photos for room, and tell me who r housemates. Thnx.
2.
inbox.
Ahmad K: Dear bro, u can come to see the apartment & room any time u want, I send photos to ur
3.
Mohamad G: .‫ ابعثلي مسج عالخاص بليز‬,‫ رنجت‬500 ‫أنا محتاج غرفة بسرعة والبدجت تبعي‬
I need a room urgently and my budget is 500RM. Send me a private message
please.
4.
Isam Ah: .‫أخي بليز ممكن تحط صور للغرفة‬
Could you please post some photos?
5.
Raid Sa: .‫ ثانكس‬.‫أنا أريد أشيك الغرفة‬
I want to check the room. Thanks.
This post was written by an Arab student about an available room for rent near
IIUM. Although the post was written in Arabic, five participants commented on it using
English. Interestingly, the same student, Ahmad K, who wrote the post in Arabic
commented on his post using English only (comment 2). On the other hand, only three
students responded using Arabic without inserting any English word in their comments,
whereas three students embedded some English words in their comments. Mohamad G
inserted two English words in his comment; budget and please, while Isam Ah used
“thanks” which was the only English word used in his comment. The word “check” was
used as a verb in Raid’s comment. It is worth mentioning that “please” and “thanks” are
two of the most common English words used by Arabs especially in Arab-Arab
interactions.
Academic Matters -- Facebook Post 2:
Osama K:‫ اإلنجلش مسويلي سترس انصحوني وش أسوي؟‬,‫أريد أنجح بامتحان السلباد وأفتك‬
I want to pass EPT, English causes me stress. What shall I do? Please advise me.
May 7 at 5:00 PM.. 60 people like this.
1. Ahmad Ah: ‫واليهمك أخوي أنا أساعدك رح أسويلك آد ونتكلم عالتشات‬
Don’t worry brother, I can help you. I’ll add you so that we can chat.
2. Gaith Ah: ‫عفوا شباب فيني نزل كورسات بالشورت سمستر ؟؟ أنا طالب ماستر‬
Excuse me guys, can I take courses in the short semester? I’m a master’s student.
110
3.
Osama K: ‫مشكورين شباب عالدعم‬
Thanks for your support.
Lubna Is: .‫ال أخي طالب الماستر أو البوست جراديويت بشكل عام مابيقدروا بس بعتقد فيك تاخد الريسيرش بيبر أو الثيسس‬
‫بالتوفيق‬
Master’s students or Postgraduates in general can’t take courses in summer, but I think you can
work on your research paper or thesis. Good luck.
4.
5.
Laith Far: ‫ال أخي ما بتقدر اإل بالفصل األكاديمي العادي‬
You can take courses only during a regular academic semester.
The second post was written by an Arab student who was seeking advice on how to
pass EPT. Osama K wrote his post in Arabic, but he used two English words in his post;
“English and stress”. However, he did not use any English word when he commented on
his post (comment 3). Nine participants responded to his post in Arabic. Six of them wrote
in Arabic and switched to English, while the rest responded in Arabic only. However, only
three participants wrote their comments entirely in English. It could be noticed that most of
the words inserted within the Arabic sentences in this post are academic such as semester,
courses, postgraduate, thesis, research paper, and few others.
Religion -- Facebook Post 3:
Faten Ab:‫ أهال رمضان‬...‫رمضان على األبواب‬
Ramadan is just around the corner….welcome Ramadan
May 12 at 1:00 PM.. 40 people like this.
1.
Zuhair Alz: ‫رمضان مبارك‬
Ramadan Mubarak
2.
Mohamad Ant: ‫أهال رمضان‬
Welcome Ramadan
3.
Lucy na: .‫رمضان مبارك‬.‫رح أشتاق ألهلي ألنو رح اقضي رمضان بعيدة عنهن‬
I’m going to miss my family because I’ll spend Ramadan away from them. Ramadan Mubarak.
4.
Sarah Om: ‫عادي حبيبتي اكيد عندك فرندز يخففون عنك هالشعور‬.
It’s ok dear; your friends can make you feel good.
5.
King Mind: Can’t wait for it. May God forgive our sins.
Facebook post 3 was written by one of the participants to welcome Ramadan and to
remind others of getting ready for it. The post was written entirely in Arabic without
inserting any English words. However, only one participant responded to the post using
English only, whereas the rest of the participants preferred using Arabic. Interestingly,
comment number 4 was the only comment included an English word, i.e., ‘friends’.
111
Humor -- Facebook Post 4:
May 19 at 2:50 PM.. 30 people like this.
1.
Oays Alh: I think so
2.
Zaid Ka: ‫ههههههه بيدور على عروسة‬
Hahaha, he is looking for a bride.
3.
Monia Ad: ‫ ساعة اكيد مو بالغلط لوول‬18 ‫هو منزلها من‬
He uploaded it 18 hours ago, which means that he did it on purpose loool.
4.
Omar Jo: ‫اهلل يعين األخ لما يفتح األكاونت رح ينتحر بسببكم ههههه‬
Poor he! He is going to commit suicide when he logs into his account hahahaha.
5.
Mounia Ad: .‫هو يلي نزل الصورة بالبيج الغلط لول‬
He shouldn’t have uploaded it in this page lol.
In the post shown above, one of the participants posted his picture for unknown
reason. Twelve participants commented on his photo in a funny way wondering why he
posted it. Seven comments were written in Arabic. Four of which were written entirely in
Arabic, while the rest included few English words, i.e. lol, page, and account (comments 3,
4 and 5). It is worth mentioning that only four comments were written entirely in English.
Jobs – Facebook Post 5:
Zuhair Alz: Master’s in accounting and experience with professional English language
looking for a job. Anyone can help me? I’ll appreciate your assistance.
May 17 at 7:00 PM.. 50 people like this.
1.
Mohamad An: ‫باالمكان التواصل معي على الخاص يوجد فرصة عمل كمحاسب‬
Send me a private message; there is a job vacancy.
2.
Zuhair Alz: Plz check inbox or others
3.
Zuhair Alz: ‫لماذا الترد يا أخي؟؟‬
Brother, why don’t you reply?
4.
Mohamad An: I was out. I’ll check and come back to you.
5.
Alaa Tam: ‫مطلوب بشكل عاجل شاب أو بنت للعمل بشركة سياحية بالتايم سكوير فول تايم أو بارت تايم عنده خلفية في السياحة‬
.‫والكمبيوتر والسوشل ميديا ولغة عربي وانجليزي‬
112
We are urgently looking for a part time or full time male or female employee to work at a
tourism company at Times Square. They should have a background in tourism, computer and social media,
and good English language skills.
Zuhair Alz wrote Facebook post 5 hopping to find a job opportunity related to
accounting. He wrote his post in English without inserting any Arabic word. Interestingly,
Mohamad An commented on the post using Arabic only (comment 1). In response, Zuhair
Alz wrote a comment in English, but he later wrote another comment entirely in Arabic
(comments 3). Likewise, in comment 4, Mohamad An responded using English only, while
in his next comment he responded entirely in Arabic. It is worth noting that comment
number 5 was the only Arabic comment that included some English words, i.e. full time,
part time, computer, and social media.
Summary of English words inserted within Arabic sentences:
The following table summarizes the most common English words inserted within Arabic
sentences in the previous posts.
Religious
words
None
Technical
Terms
Chat, add,
page, account,
mobile, check, social
media,
computer
Academic
Terms
Practice,
master, postgraduate,
research paper, thesis,
academic, short
semester, course, full
time, part time
Other
words
Please,
lol, thanks,
budget, friends
According to the five previous posts, the presence of English code-switching
occurred frequently in the participants’ comments. The findings showed that 27.4% of the
comments included English words, whereas 35% were written entirely in English.
However, only 37.2% were written entirely in Arabic without inserting any English word.
Although participants were aware of their linguistic behavior, the majority of them chose to
comment entirely in English or to insert English words within the Arabic sentences.
Therefore, it could be said that this linguistic behavior was done deliberately. In fact, this
could be linked to fong’s study (2011) in which he indicated that non-verbal
communication allows people to edit and revise what has been written before being sent.
Thus, it could be said that bilinguals are aware of their code-switching behavior and they
do it intentionally as they have time to think before writing any single word.
5.0 Conclusion
This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of code-switching among Arab students at
IIUM and the reasons and motivations that encourage them to switch from Arabic to
English while communicating orally or via Facebook with their friends or family members
who have the same native linguistic background. In addition, it shed light on the impact of
English on the Arabic language and Arab identity from the students’ perspective.
113
According to the results of the study, expressing oneself better, not being able to
find suitable equivalents for some English words in Arabic, and improving English
speaking skills were some of the reasons why most Arab students would resort to codeswitching. Interestingly, around 70% of the students believed that code-switching would
have a negative impact on Arabic as it could weaken the ability to express oneself in
Arabic fluently. In addition, many words would be threatened with extinction and replaced
by English words.
Although Arab students at IIUM tended to mix languages as they live in an English
speaking environment, many of them showed a positive attitude towards their mother
tongue considered as a significant part of their identity and gave several suggestions to
maintain it such as teaching it to children and non-Arabic speakers, reading Quran, Arabic
books and stories, practicing classical Arabic, holding conferences, etc.
According to the results presented previously, it could be said that English was used
by respondents to facilitate communication and comprehension, whereas Arabic was the
primary language used by the respondents for all communicative purposes, supplemented
by English where necessary.
114
References
Abdul-Zahra,S. (2010). Code-Switching in language: An Applied study. Vol. 21 (1).
Al Qudhai’een, M. (2003). The Syntax of Saudi Arabic-English Intrasentential CodeSwitching. ProQuest Information and Learning Company.
Alenezi, F. (2001). Formal Constraints on Arabic/English Code-Switching: A LexicallyBased Approach. ProQuest Information and Learning Company.
Alfaifi, H. Saeeda. (2013). Code-Switching Among Bilingual Saudis on Facebook.
Puplished Master’s thesis. 1541907
Al-Rowais, H. (2012). Code-Switching between Arabic and English, social motivations and
Structural Constraints. Unpublished Master’s thesis, BALL State University.
Alsbiai,W. (2011). Code-Switching between Arabic and English among Saudi Speakers in
Jeddah. Unpublished study, King Abdul-Aziz University. Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
Armia.Najwa. (2009). Code-Switching Among ESL Teachers (A Case Study of IFLA at the
International Islamic University). Unpublished master’s thesis, International Islamic
University Malaysia, Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences.
Fina, A. (2007). Code-Switching and the Construction of Ethnic Identity in a Community
of Practice. Cambridge University Press 0047-4045.
Fong,C. (2011). Functions and Reasons for Code-Switching on Facebook. Unpublished
study, University Tunku Abdul Rahman. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
Gibson. K. (2004). English Only Court Cases Involving the U.S. Workplace: The Myths of
Language Use and the Homogenization of Bilingual Workers’ Identities. Second language
Studies, 22(2), pp, 1-60.
Hanini.F. (2009). Impact of English on young Arabs’ use of Arabic in the UAE.
Unpublished master’s thesis, The American University of Sharjah College of Arts and
Scientists.
Heredia.R & Altarriba. (2001). Bilingual Language mixing: why do Bilinguals code
switch? Vol.10, No. 5
Kim,L,. Siong, L,. Fei,wong,. & Ya’acob, A., (2010). The English Language and its Impact
on Identities of multilingual Malaysian Undergraduates. Journal of Language Studies.
Vol.10 (1) 2010.
Mustafa,Ruba (2011). SMS Code-Switching among Teenagers in Jordan. Unpublished
study, Middle East University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
115
N.C.Kiranmayi,M. (2010). Code Switching and Code Mixing in Arab Students- Some
Implications. ISSN 193—2940.
Vela’squez, M. (2010). Language and Identity: Bilingual Code-Switching in SpanishEnglish Interviews. Unpublished Master’s thesis, University of Toronto. Department of
Curriculum, Teaching and learning.
116
Appendix
Questionnaire for Students
Code Switching Among Arab speakers in terms of Motivation and Identity
This survey is part of a research paper. We would greatly appreciate it if you could
take few minutes to answer these brief questions. Be assured that your information is
strictly confidential. Thank you!
‫ المعلوميا التيي‬. ‫ أشيكرك عليى الوقيت اليذي تمنحيه بإجابتيك عليى هيذه األسيللة‬. ‫هذا االستبيان جزء من بحثيي‬
.‫ شكرًا لك‬. ‫ و ستكون في غاية السرية‬، ‫تزودني بها لن يطّلع عليها أحد‬
Gender □ Male □ Female
‫الجنس □ ذكر □ أنثى‬
Age ____________________
____________________ ‫العمر‬
:‫رجاء ضع إشارة صح في الصندوق المناسب فيما يلي‬
appropriate box.
Please tick (√) only one
1
Al
O
ways
ften
‫ما‬
‫لبا‬
‫دائ‬
Som
etimes
‫أحيانا‬
‫غا‬
Rar
N
ely
‫نادرا‬
ever
‫إط‬
‫القا‬
‫الوالدين‬
Pare
nts
‫األخوة‬
‫و األخوا‬
‫األقارب‬
Sibli
ngs
Rela
tives
Arab
Friends
NonArab friends
‫األصد‬
‫قاء العرب‬
‫األصد‬
‫قاء غير العرب‬
: ‫ أنا أتحدث باستخدام اإلنجليزية مع‬-1
1. I speak English to :
2. I speak my :
:‫ أنا أتحدث باستخدام لغتي األم مع‬-2
mother tongue to
2
A
lways
‫دا‬
O
ften
So
metimes
‫غ‬
‫أحيانا‬
Rar
ely
‫نادرا‬
N
ever
‫إ‬
117
‫ئما‬
‫البا‬
‫طالقا‬
‫الوالدين‬
‫األخوة و‬
‫األخوا‬
‫األقارب‬
Parents
Sibling
s
Relativ
es
Arab
Friends
NonArab friends
3
‫األصدقا‬
‫ء العرب‬
‫األصدقا‬
‫ء غير العرب‬
Str
ongly
Agree
‫أواف‬
‫ق بشدة‬
A
gree
‫أ‬
‫وافق‬
N
eutral
‫م‬
‫حايد‬
D
isagree
‫ال‬
‫أوافق‬
Stron
gly Disagree
‫ال أوافق‬
‫بشدة‬
a- I
like to read in
English
‫أحب‬
‫القراءة باللغة‬
‫اإلنج‬
‫ليزية‬
b- I
like to write in
English
‫أحب‬
‫الكتابة باللغة‬
‫اإلنج‬
‫ليزية‬
c- I
like to read in
my first
language
‫أحب‬
‫القراءة بلغتي‬
‫األم‬
d- I
like to write in
my first
language
‫أحب‬
‫الكتابة بلغتي‬
‫األم‬
e- I
speak my
mother tongue
because I can
express
myself better
‫أتحد‬
‫ث بلغتي األم‬
‫ألني أستطيع‬
‫أن أعبر عن‬
‫نفسي بشكل‬
‫أفضل بها‬
f- I
speak English
because
I can
‫أتحد‬
‫ث اللغة‬
‫اإلنجليزية‬
‫ألني أستطيع‬
118
‫أن أعبر عن‬
‫نفسي بشكل‬
‫أفضل بها‬
‫التحد‬
‫ث فقط باللغة‬
‫اإلنج‬
‫ليزية له تأثير‬
‫على هويتي‬
‫الثقافية‬
express
myself better
gSpeaking only
English
affects my
cultural
identit
y
hMixing
English with
my
first language
is bad for my
first language
‫التحد‬
‫ث باللغتين‬
‫اإلنجليزية و‬
‫العربية في آن‬
‫معا يؤثر سلبا‬
‫على لغتي األم‬
I- If I
do not speak
my
first
language it
will disappear
‫إذا لم‬
‫أتحدث بلغتي‬
‫األم فهي‬
‫ستتالشى و‬
‫تختفي‬
jThere is no
risk of losing
my mother
tongue even if
I do not use it
much
‫ال‬
‫توجد خطورة‬
‫بأن أخسر‬
‫لغتي األم حتى‬
‫إذا لم‬
‫أستخدمها‬
‫كثيرا‬
kMaintaining
my first
language is
my
responsibility
‫الحفا‬
‫ظ على لغتي‬
‫األم هو من‬
‫مسؤوليتي‬
4-
Please answer the following questions: ‫ يرجيى اإلجابية عليى األسيللة‬-4
:‫التالية‬
A.
With whom do you code-switch using your mother tongue and
English? (please explain)
119
‫أ‪ -‬مع من تتحدث اللغتين اإلنجليزية و العربية معا (تخلط) ؟ رجاء اشرح‪.‬‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫)‪What reasons lead to this code-switching? (please explain‬‬
‫‪B.‬‬
‫ما هي األسباب التي تدعوك للخلط بين اللغتين ؟ رجاء اشرح‬
‫ب‪-‬‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫?‪In what way does speaking English affect your mother tongue‬‬
‫‪C.‬‬
‫كيف يكون لتحدثك باإلنجليزية أثرعلى لغتك األم؟ رجاء اشرح‬
‫‬‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫?‪How can Arabic be maintained in this age of globalization‬‬
‫‪D.‬‬
‫كيف يمكن الحفاظ على اللغة العربية في عصرنا الذي يتصف بالعولمة ؟‬
‫ث‪-‬‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫___________________________________________________________________‬
‫________________________________________________________________‬
‫‪120‬‬
Cultural Approach In Teaching Indonesian Language For
Foreigners
Dr.Arif Budi Wurianto
University of Muhammadiyah Malang, Indonesia, [email protected]
Abstract
Indonesian language is increasingly sought after and studied by the international
community. Indonesian Language Course was established to serve the growing number of
foreigners who learn Indonesian language. Many reasons for foreigners to learn Indonesian
language are as follows: business, research, international cooperation programs, diplomatic
affairs, and tourism. Based on the experience of managing teaching Indonesian language
for foreigners, cultural approach in teaching and learning of Indonesian language for
foreign speakers is a great demand and effective for the ability to speak Indonesian.
Cultural approach is a belief that language and culture are interrelated. Language learning
with a cultural approach enables quicker understanding about Indonesian language with the
mindset and culture of Indonesia. Cultural approach is based upon three aspects, namely:
cultural knowledge, cultural behavior, and the introduction of cultural material. These three
aspects are integrated in the texts and integrated into the knowledge and language skills
like listening, speaking, reading and writing. The activity that complements the cultural
approach is the strategy of outing class program to give students more facts about
Indonesian culture experience.
Keywords: Indonesian Language for Foreigners, Culture Approach, Outing Class,
Indonesian Culture
Biodata : Dr. Arif Budi Wurianto, Lecturer Associate Professor at University of
Muhammadiyah Malang. Head of BIPA (Bahasa Indonesia for Foreigners Speaker) office.
The Provider of Darmasiswa RI Scholarship at University of Muhammadiyah Malang.
Interested in Language and Culture, Teaching and Learning of Foreign Languages.
1.0
Introduction
Indonesian language is increasingly sought after and studied by the international
community, for reasons of business, research, culture, and the effects of globalization.
According to data of the National Language Board of the Ministry of Education and
Culture, Indonesian language is now taught in 46 countries in Asia, Australia, America,
Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Out of those 46 countries, Indonesian language is
mostly taught in Australia and Japan. In Australia, Indonesian language is the fourth
foreign language aligned with Chinese, French, Japanese, and Dutch. Each of Indonesian
Embassy provides Indonesian language courses for local residents who have a desire to
speak Indonesian language for various purposes, not only learning the language, but also
the culture. Language and culture have the attachment; both are the reflections of thought
121
patterns. Language is as a description of values and behaviors; and cultural materials are
expressed through the language.
In Indonesia, course and teaching of Indonesian language for foreign speakers are
also offered by universities, language schools, home language, and even non formal
implementation by the hotel and tourism agents. On the Internet, there encountered
strangers who learned Indonesian language, either in the form of a tutorial, YouTube, or
program to learn Indonesian language. The Government of the Republic of Indonesia is
also developing learning programs of Indonesian language for foreigners through
Darmasiswa RI Scholarship Program administered by the Ministry of Education and
Culture since 1974. Although Indonesian study programs focus on language skills,
language cannot be separated from culture. In the Indonesian language, some values,
expressions of politeness, and the cultural scene are reflected in the speech community
through speaking. Accordingly, Indonesia's cultural program is an integral part of learning
programs of Indonesian language.
Some arguments relating to the relationship of language and culture are as
follows. In Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) III edition (2005: 88), it is stated that
language is an arbitrary symbol of sound system, which is used by members of the
community to work together, interact, and identify themselves. Thus, the language of
culture and vice versa influences the language community. A very famous theory in this
case is the Sapir-Whorf theory, cited by many experts in writing a book about
sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics. According to Sapir and Whorf, language influences
the way of thinking and acting members of the public speakers. What humans do is always
influenced by the properties of the language.
In the course of speaking, the selection of words that correspond to the interests of
social interaction depends on the culture where the language is used. Language is often
regarded as social or cultural products, even an integral part of the culture. As a product of
a particular social or cultural aspect, language is a means of social aspirations, activities
and behavior, disclosure of cultural container including the technology created by the
language user community. Language can be regarded as mirror this time. Judging from the
point of view of speakers, Indonesian language lacks specificity. Indonesian language is the
official language and at the same time as the national language. Indonesian language unites
the nation of Indonesia, which consists of 300 ethnic groups. Tribes in Indonesia not only
use Indonesian language, but also regional language in everyday life. Indonesian society is
mostly multilingual. In addition to ethnic groups, there are also ethnic groups who use the
language of origin as a means of communicating other than Indonesian. As in the research,
DedeOetomo in 1987 (Sumarsono and Partana, 2002: 336) states that the language can also
affect the group. This assumption is based on observations of Chinese ethnic in Pasuruan to
investigate what Chinese communities say in daily basis. He concluded that Chinese people
can be grouped into Pure Chinese and Chinese descendant. This suggests that language can
reflect the identity of the group. Similarly, Indonesian language are used in specific
manners in Aceh, Minangkabau, Riau, Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Madura,
Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, Papua, Sulawesi and Kalimantan.
Indonesian speakers in various ethnic groups are influenced by cultural and social values of
their different understanding on social behavior/habit in general and specific communities.
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To sum up, understanding the language and culture is also receiving attention in
learning Indonesian language as a foreign language. Learning Indonesian language along
with its cultures can be used as an approach (in this case a cultural approach) in learning
Indonesian language as a foreign language. Indonesian language uniqueness is in its
position as a national language which unites various tribes. Besides, Indonesian language is
as the political identity of the nation in the national language. Indonesian vocabulary is also
absorbed from various regional languages. Indonesian language speakers reflect the
cultural values of their area. That is why understanding Indonesian culture is also of
urgency.
2.0 Cultural Approach
Unity in Diversity as a symbol of the State of Indonesia is a picture of the cultural
diversity that unites the Indonesian nation and can be used as an approach to understanding
the nation, culture and Indonesian. Indonesian language is the representation of the Nation.
Maurits Simatupang (2000: 38) says that Indonesian language that is originally from Malay
language is by no means the gift from the native Malay staying in Indonesia; but the former
nation strugglers are the ones who initiated Malay language as the language of unity for the
people of Indonesia through the Youth Pledge, 28th of October 1928.
Indonesian language describes the culture of Indonesia. The nature of Indonesia is
a pluralistic society. Indonesian plural society emphasizes on ethnic and cultural diversity,
respectively united and organized administratively by the national system of Indonesia
based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. Every culture has its core cultural values;
and the values of this culture integrate various elements as a blueprint or guidance for
people's lives. Parsudi Suparlan (2005) states cultural devices contain a reference system or
cognitive and affective models, operating at various levels of feelings and consciousness.
This is the basic approach to culture in language learning.
Cultural approach is the perspective that uses aspects of culture in approaching a
problem. Koentjaraningrat (2007) suggests the definition of culture as a whole system of
ideas, actions, and man's work in the context of social life which serves as a learning
belonging to human beings. Thus, those three important aspects of culture belong to a
system of ideas that form thinking, actions, behaviors and attitudes, as well as the cultural
materials used by public. In other words, a cultural approach in language teaching
perspective is executed by taking into account cultural knowledge, cultural behavior, and
cultural materials.
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3.0 Approaches in Learning Indonesian Culture for Foreigners
3.1. Approach to the realm of culture
Approach to the realm of culture includes cultural knowledge, cultural behavior, and the
introduction to cultural materials. Cultural knowledge covers the matters of Indonesian
culture introduced through language learning. Cultural behaviors include values, norms,
and behaviors that are reflected in the language speech acts. Cultural materials are the
results of human culture in physical form that can be seen, touched, felt and appreciated.
The realm of cultural approach will be learning the language materials. The underlying
assumption is language as a reflection of the culture; language is associated with behaviors
that are taught by the culture; and objects of cultural material are expressed through
language. As already written in the previous section, Indonesia is a pluralistic society with
various cultures; therefore, in addition to teaching Indonesian language skills, it is also
crucial to provide an understanding on how to teach a language that reflects the cultures of
Indonesia.
Cultural sphere (Liliweri, 2014) which is used as a benchmark in Indonesian language
learning for foreigners includes the followings:
a. A system which includes a belief system, religious system, as a basic value
orientation of Indonesian people's lives
b. Values, Norms, and Indigenous customary in Indonesia
c. Kinship, marriage, family, system of government organizations in Indonesia
d. Local and traditional knowledge systems
e. Symbol System Language
f. Traditional performing arts, traditional visual arts, literary arts, architecture, art
record
g. Economic systems and livelihoods.
The cultural sphere is as a source of learning materials in Indonesian language as a
foreign language. Aside from being a source of materials that is developed into teaching
materials, the cultural sphere also develops the learning resources that determine the
implementation of learning strategies for Indonesian language as a foreign language.
3.2. Teaching Indonesian Language for Foreigners with Cultural
Approach
Teaching Indonesian language for foreigners with Indonesian cultural approach is a typical
way that utilizes the cultural domain as the materials for teaching. The basic approach is
that there was no former link between Indonesian language and Indonesian culture,
associated with belief systems, values and norms, as well as objects of culture. The basic
theoretical argument for those who are unfamiliar with this cultural approach is the concept
of Language and Culture affirming that Language is the most typical, the most
representative, and the most central element in any culture. Language and culture are not
separable; it is better to see the special characteristics of a language as cultural entities and
124
to recognize that language uses nearly all other cultural elements. The detailed facts of
culture cannot properly be evaluated in isolation but must be seen as integrated parts of the
total way of life in which they appear (Brooks, 1976). While the theory of Edward Sapir
stated Language is an essentially perfect means of expression and communication among
every known people. Of all aspects of culture, it is a fair guess that language was the first to
receive a highly developed form and that its essential perfection is a prerequisite to the
development of culture as a whole.
In practice, teaching Indonesian language for foreigners with culture-based
approach, in essence teaching Indonesian language to express culture, develops cultural
knowledge, the ability to communicate the culture, understanding the culture,
and ́promoting culture through language.
3.2.2. Outing Class Method
3.2.2.1 Definition
Class outing method is a procedure that utilizes language learning, nature, and
community events outside the Indonesian language teaching for foreigners. The study will
be out of the classroom to experience a real study on various aspects, particularly with
regard to the culture to be studied. The study will be a real learning context. Stages of class
outing method include:
a. Teaching materials such as text with content about culture
b. Teaching materials in the form of literature on cultural knowledge, cultural
behavior, or cultural objects
c. The learning activities in reading and tutorial classes
d. Learning to read is integrated with learning to write.
e. Teachers prepare a worksheet that contains a record of observations
f. Teachers and students agree to conduct visit in accordance with the target subjects
of culture.
g. At the destination, the form of language learning communication skills (speaking,
writing) occur and simultaneously students get to know the culture being visited.
h. Assessment is done by means of real assessment.
i. Preparing forms about learning outcome assessment to measure the ability of
vocabulary, speaking, writing and culture that are studied.
3.2.2.2. Learning materials
Learning Indonesian language for foreign speakers with Class Outing method is
learning the language and the content of culture. Culture integrated in Indonesian language
learning activities includes listening, speaking, reading and writing. The presented cultural
materials encompass cultural knowledge, cultural behavior, and objects of cultural
materials. Instructional material used is authentic material. The characteristics of authentic
material are:
125
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
Speakers of the target language utterance reflect the authentic communication.
Ideal in accordance with the use of native speakers’ language.
In line with expectations of native and foreign students regarding the need
Selection of common language features: frequency of use and acceptability is
high.
Error Correction
The expectation of learning: learning experience utilizing Indonesian language
Instructional materials are packaged in the form of themes. They also develop an
interesting theme in topics related to culture. For example, the chosen theme is Tourism.
Study the following tourism theme:
Content: Culture
Theme: Tourism
Topics:
a. Visiting Singosari
b. Mask Making Center visiting in Malang
c. Learning Batik
d. Seeing atmosphere of Traditional Market in Malang
e. Visiting apple plantation in Batu Malang
f. Visiting the manufacturer of traditional tempe chips in Malang
g. Visiting Hot Sulfuric Spring in Songgoriti Batu Malang
h. Visiting Islamic primary schools in Malang
i. Visiting Museum of Archaeology in Malang
Those topics are incorporated in reading texts that are equipped with the
comprehension questions, vocabulary recognition, making sentences, descriptions/
explanations of cultural notes, and writing tests after outside class observation. Each topic
describes the details of cultural knowledge, people's behavior, and culture in physical form
(artifact).
3.2.2.3. Learning activities
Indonesian language teaching and learning activities for foreign speakers using the cultural
approach is divided into two sessions. The first session is a classroom activity with major
operations of proficiencies in language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing the
materials that had been prepared. The second session is a class outing or a visit to the
outside of class (mini field study) with observation, culture introduction, question and
answer, recording, and reporting in a simple sentence. Activities outside the classroom
require preparation and agreement between teachers and students.
In learning activities in the classroom, the necessary media are teaching materials,
slides and LCD, as well as the sheet of paper to write. Class begins with apperception of
Indonesian culture in simple language in accordance with the rank of language learning to
learn. English is still used in order to avoid the direct learning to learn Indonesian
language. Then, the next step is explaining the reasons related to the topic to be studied.
Circle arrangement of chairs of students is recommended in order to create good
126
communication. It is then followed by a discussion of the topic with explanations,
discussion, question and answer, and speaking practice. Lecturing sessions are more on
explanations about descriptions of the cultural record. The class is concluded with a
reflection. The teacher also discusses the outing class activity in the next meeting. The
concern is on the preparation for outing class activities. The teacher gives a technical
description of an outing class plan.
Arranging the subject matters in the form of cultural texts includes:
a. dialogue performance
b. presentation of difficult words that exist in the dialogue and practice making
sentences with difficult words and exercise on responding to questions in the
dialogue
c. development of creativity by making a question or a statement in accordance with
the desired topic
d. reading text with the words that the difficulty level is almost the same as the
words presented in the dialogue, the questions of reading text, and exercises about
the content of reading, changing the patterns of sentences in the reading text, and
writing summaries/impression/criticism in response to the content of reading text.
In eliciting culture-based language learning, a few things to note are:
a. Formulation development of learning materials of Indonesian language for
foreigners that depend on some factors, which come from the learning process
(instructional) and conditional aspects. In this case, the teacher considers the
situation and the learning environment that are bringing knowledge of different
and multicultural nature.
b. The design of learning materials for BIPA is oriented towards the effective and
functional conditioning of possible personal interaction and student learning
activity. The need to study should be noted. Cultural differences, appreciation,
cultural understanding, and mutual respect among cultures need to also be
considered. Teaching Indonesian language for foreigners with cultural basis, that
takes into account the personal needs of learning that include learning the
language, connecting the people, traveling, understanding, and respecting the
culture, should pay attention to personal readiness to enter into a different culture
with its own culture.
c. Pedestal and learning objectives are directed at possibilities that encourage
students to always practice and be creative with a variety of combinations of
language and culture of Indonesia. Accordingly, the role of teaching media and
development of language learning resources need to be taken into account.
3.2.2.4 Evaluation of Learning
In theory, the purposes of teaching Indonesian language for foreigners include the
realm of knowledge, attitudes, and skills (Karmin, 2000). Evaluation model applied in
BIPA with a cultural approach also incorporate those three realms. Evaluation instrument
could be in the forms of tests and non-tests. Tests can be used to measure the competences
in (1) the structure and written expression, (2) vocabulary and reading, and (3) listening.
Non-tests are used to measure the competences in (1) speaking and (2) writing
127
assignments. Through observation, measurement of speaking and writing competences is
done. Evaluation techniques that can be used are (a) Saying letters, name, circumstances in
the target language; (b) Retelling dialogues, stories, events heard or read; (c) Telling about
the picture; (d) Conducting interviews; (e) Delivering experiences, events, and science
orally; (f) Answering simple and complex questions; and (h) playing a role.
In teaching Indonesian language for foreigners with a cultural approach,
evaluation of learning can be done in an eclectic way, which combines a variety of
techniques of evaluating the ability to speak, write, and use vocabulary.
4.0
Conclusion
Teaching Indonesian language for foreigners basically improves the image of Indonesia, in
particular, improving the image of Indonesian cultural society, introducing and
disseminating the use of Indonesian language in international scope. Strategic position in
international relations, tourism promotion, labor market, and an exotic object for research
make foreigners attracted to enter and study further the territory of Indonesia. Therefore,
the role of culture as a necessary approach to teach Indonesian language is of a necessity.
The concept that language politic shows the nation puts the teaching of Indonesian
language as a foreign language into its functions of expressing, developing,
communicating, understanding, and promoting the culture.
Understanding and skillfully speaking Indonesian with Indonesian cultural sense
will help students to: take Indonesian studies program, conduct research in the area of
Indonesia, work in Indonesia, conduct Indonesian studies, live with the people of
Indonesia, read Indonesian newspaper, and communicate in daily basis.
128
References
Azis Nurwahyudi ( 2013) Subdirektorat Sosial Budaya, Direktorat Diplomasi Publik
Kementerian Luar Negeri RI . Beasiswa Darmasiswa Sebagai Aset Diplomasi Indonesia.
Jakarta : BPKLN. Bahan Penataran.
Council of Europe. (2006). Common European Framework Of Reference For Languages:
Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Language Policy Unit, Strasbourg. www.coe.int/langCEFR.
Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan.(2010). Pemetaan Pengajaran BIPA di Asia.
Jakarta: Pusat Bahasa.
Direktorat Izin Tinggal dan Status Keimigrasian. Kemenhumham. (2013) Peran
Keimigrasian dalam Proses Pemberian Izin Tinggal Terbatas pada pelaksanaan
pemberian Beasiswa Program Darmasiswa RI. Jakarta : BPKLN Bahan Penataran.
Internasionalisasi Perguruan Tinggi dalam Meningkatkan Daya Saing Perguruan Tinggi
Indonesia di Era Globalisasi. Bahan Penataran. (2013) Direktorat General Pendidikan
Tinggi Kementerian Pendidikan Dan Kebudayaan.
Karmin,Y. (2000) Pengembangan Tes BIPA. Makalah Prosiding Konferensi Bahasa
Indonesia bagi Penutur Asing (KIPBIPA) III, pada tanggal 11-13 Oktober 1999 di Kampus
Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Bandung
Liliweri, Alo (2014) Pengantar Studi Kebudayaan. Bandung: Nusamedia.
Maurits Simatupang (2000) Masalah Kebudayaan Nasional dalam Perspektif Global.
Kajian Seba Linguistik Jakarta: BPK.
Mukhammad Fahrurozi. 2013. Biro Kerjasama Teknik Luar Negeri. Sekretariat Negara.
Peran Kemsetneg Dalam Penyelenggaraan Program Darmasiswa. Bahan Penataran
Suparlan, Parsudi (2005) Suku bangsa dan Hubungan antar Suku Bangsa.Jakarta:YPKIK.
Sonhaji, Ahmad. 2014. Manusia Teknologi dan Pendidikan menuju Peradaban Baru.
Malang: UM Press.
129
Current Situation of Arabic Language Studies in
Jordan Universities
Mohd Azidan Abdul Jabar1, Zeyad Faisal Al-Azzam2
1
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
World Islamic Science & Education University, Jordan, [email protected]
Abstract
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is often considered one of the most popular educational
hubs for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Although the country is small in
size and population, but it is big in its agenda to develop its higher education system. It has
a substantial number of higher education institutions that offer various academic
programmes. One of its most sought after programmes by foreign students especially from
Malaysia are Arabic Language and Studies. The number of Malaysian students taking
Arabic programmes in Jordan is increasing every year. On the same note, we find in
Malaysian that many Arabic teachers and scholars are the graduates of universities in
Jordan. They have been doing their role in developing Arabic language teaching and
learning programmes and modules in educational institutions in Malaysia. This paper will
look briefly at the overall situations of Arabic language programmes offered by public
universities in Jordan and to show how our Malaysian institutions could benefit from
Jordan experience in developing its national language in higher education institutions.
Keywords: Arabic language, universities in Jordan, programmes, Malaysian institutions
Biodata: Associate Professor Dr. Mohd Azidan Bin Abdul Jabar is currently a lecturer at
Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).
Previously, he was appointed Director of Education Malaysia, Embassy of Malaysia in
Jordan from September 2011 to June 2015, a post he served under the Ministry of Higher
Education Malaysia. He also has held various appointments of academic administration
including the positions of Deputy Dean (Graduate Studies and International) and Head of
Foreign Languages Department at Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication,
UPM.
Zeyad Faisal Al-Azzam is a PhD candidate in The World Islamic Science & Education
University (WISE), Amman, Jordan.
130
1.0
Introduction
Arabic language is an official language of 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa
(MENA) region and is currently used by more than 350 million people across the world
including of people who are residing outside the region. Jordan which is strategically
located in the middle of MENA region and has a substantial number of higher education
institutions and scholars is always regarded as a source of reference when it comes to
higher educational studies in various fields among Arab countries. Jordan has a great
mission to become educational hub for the region. Jordan Ministry of Higher Education
and Scientific Research (MOHESR) and Ministry of Education are gearing up to improve
the quality of study and education in Jordan and currently are taking steps and measures to
bring the country to the next level of educational growth and excellence.
This is resulted in the flocking of foreign students into Jordan universities to
pursue their higher education including from Malaysia. One of the reasons why students
from Malaysia and other Asian countries are coming to Jordan universities is for them to
learn Arabic language. In their views, universities in Jordan offer better quality of teaching
and learning and has reached a standard of any reputable universities in the world. In
addition to this, the internal surroundings of the country have created a very conducive and
helpful learning situation of Arabic language. Malaysian Government has been sending
students to Jordanian universities since the 1990s and the outcome is very fruitful to the
development of Arabic language in Malaysia where graduates from Jordan are playing a
pivotal role in developing Arabic language in their home country.
Much has been said about this country that promotes Arabic language intensively
and extensively through its teaching and learning of the language in higher education
institutions. Hence, it is good for higher education institutions in Malaysia to learn some
experience from Jordan in order to improve its similar Arabic programmes that are offered
in local universities.
2.0
Importance of Arabic Language Programmes
Chijne (1969) stated that Arabic has played –and is still playing –an important role in the
history and in the improvement of Arabs and Muslims (Abu-Irmies, 2014). In addition, it is
a liturgical language which used to recite the Noble Quran and in prayer. It is also required
from every Muslim no matter what his native tongue is Arabic has also helped largely to
preserve cultural unity and continuity in the Muslim world, and has registered the
accomplishments of the Arab-Muslim peoples. Muslims and Arabs believe that Arabic is a
God-given language, single in beauty and majesty and the most meaningful of all
languages for expressing ideas and feelings (Abu-Irmies and Dweik, 2015). Arabic is
becoming an important language in all fields; as a result, learning it opens up many
employment possibilities in a number of fields. Thus, there are many reasons which
motivate a lot of learners from different parts of the world to learn Arabic. Some learners
learn Arabic as part of their academic work. However; others learn Arabic to know about
the cultures of the Arabic language. Moreover, learners of Arab origin often learn Arabic to
understand the Arabic heritage and to attain familiarity with the language of their
131
ancestor’s. Furthermore, Muslim learners learn Arabic to be able to read and understand
the Holy Quran and Hadith (Abu-Irmies, 2014). Additionally, with new modern
technological and social networks advancements, Arabic Language faced too many
difficulties that brought issues of the effectiveness and efficient of Arabic Language studies
(programmes) offered by universities, hence, Jordan universities starts working on them to
provide students with skills and abilities to listen, read, and speak fluently. Therefore,
comprehensive revisions of Arabic Language programmes have been refreshing regularly
to be in line with new developments occurring around (Al-Waely et al, 2011).
However, it must be admitted that acquiring such intimate and in-depth
knowledge of Arabic is no small task. Learning Arabic can be moderately hard to be
learned if the person doesn’t have the right mindset. She/he should always try to maximize
her/ his resources and time for the best learning experience possible. It is difficult for a
native speaker of Arabic, and this difficulty is multiplied for someone who is not a native
speaker. A student who wishes to become fully fluent in Arabic before embarking upon the
study of the various branches of Islamic knowledge (or even Arabic Language) may never
find the time to do so. The study of Arabic, as experience has shown, can take a
considerable amount of time. In consideration of these facts, Jordan may be becoming a
truly bilingual community at least in the capital Amman and primarily among the young
generation who are mostly students. Perhaps this comes as a result of modernization and
world-wide globalization and impact of rapidly-spreading communication technology
(Bani-Khaled, 2014). The question here is what are the impacts of Arabic diglossia, if any,
on the experience of learners of Arabic for native speakers and as a foreign language?
Therefore, universities of Jordan have started to review the core Arabic curriculum at their
programmes and language institutions to find the extent to which these institutions are
preparing their students to communicate effectively in the Arabic-speaking world and to
raise up the interest in Arabic as a mother tongue (Hashem-Aramouni, 2011; Al-Mamari,
2011; Bani-Khaled, 2014; Sakho, 2012; Murad, 2007).
3.0
Arabic Studies Programmes
Apparently, Arabic Language programmes offered by universities of Jordan are designed
and developed not only to overcome any challenges that might face it, but to equipped
students with scientific qualifications, enriching them with higher quality knowledge of
expertise and moreover, strengthening Arab and Islamic and human values among students,
and to create ways of creativity and innovation. Therefore, universities of Jordan have put a
flexible and an impressive programme in Arabic Language Studies encompasses Bachelor,
Master, and Doctorate degrees. In order to succeed, all universities in Jordan employ
academic staff includes professors who indeed highly qualified, holding their Ph.D. degrees
from Arab, European and American universities, thus achieving a great degree of diversity
and integration, besides there also has a few M.A. and Ph.D. students studying abroad and
they will return soon as teachers.
132
4.0
Bachelor Degree Programme
At bachelor degree, almost all universities offered Arabic certificate where students who
are going to study it, they should complete 132 credit hours consist of 44 subject. By and
large, Department of Arabic Language in any university in Jordan offers a bachelor degree
on completion of the following requirements (Table 1):
First: The University Requirements, allocated as follow:
1.
Obligatory University course requirements.
2.
Elective University course requirements.
Second: The Faculty Requirements, it depends on the faculty council to decide how
many credit hours required which is different from one university to another. In
general, some universities never divide them but others do into the following:
1. Obligatory Faculty of Arts requirements.
2. Elective Faculty of Arts requirements.
Third: Departmental (Specialization) course requirements: also there is variation in
terms of credit hours that should be accomplished to be awarded the degree. As
aforementioned, some universities never divide these courses whether obligatory or
elective but others they do. According to universities, the degree can be also divided
into the followings:
o Single specialization course requirements, which in turn can be divided into the
followings:
A. Obligatory courses.
B. Elective Courses.
C. Courses from other Departments.
o Major/Minor specialization course requirements, which in turn can be divided into
the followings:
A. Obligatory courses.
B. Elective Courses.
C. Courses from other Departments.
133
Elective
Obligatory
Elective
Other
Departs.
Mu’tah University
Obligatory
University of
Jordan
Yarmouk
University
Total
Credit
Hours
Elective
University
Obligatory
Table 1: Bachelor Programme in Arabic Language Component
University
Faculty
Departmental
Requirements
Requirements
Requirements
21
6
24
0
60
21
0
132
21
6
15
3
26
12
6
132
12
15
9
12
69
18
0
135
12
3
132
15
0
132
12
0
132
3-9
0
132
15
3
132
Al al-Bayt
27
0
21
0
69
University
Al-Hussein Bin
12
15
15
6
69
Talal University
Tafila Technical
12
15
15
6
72
University
Al-Balqa’a
Applied
21
6
18-30
0
63-69
University
Hashemite
12
15
21
0
66
University
Source: by authors based on Universities prospectus 2015
Indeed, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Jordan imposed on
universities in Jordan to implement the university competency exam as a prerequisite for
graduation. This exam is able to evaluate the all universities programmes, subjects,
materials, and quality of education, teachers, and students’ knowledge in order to evaluate
the whole programmes to ensure quality at all levels.
5.0
Master Degree Programme
The Master Programme in Arabic Language and Literature at Universities of Jordan aims
to provide students with an advanced level of knowledge in their field of study and has
been designed to facilitate the highest degree of in-depth research. At the same time, the
programme is flexible enough to provide students with the opportunity to focus on fields of
the Arabic that complement their research interests, be they in the linguistic aspects of the
Arabic language or in its vast literary and critical domains. Scientific research is of great
importance in this program and is an integral part of knowledge acquisition in all course
requirements. Hence, courses on the various methods of research writing are offered to
students in order to enrich their theoretical and practical skills for writing academic papers
134
(University
of
Petra
Website,
https://www.uop.edu.jo/En/Academics/
FacultyofArtsandSciences/Pages/MasterOfArabicLanguage.aspx/).
The
programme's
academic plan was designed to include two tracks (Table 2: Obligatory and Elective credit
hours for Master Programme):
1.
A dissertation track: which requires the completion of 33 credit hours, 24 of which
go towards the completion of obligatory and elective coursework, and 9 credit hours
of which are for the completion of a dissertation under the supervision of a faculty
member from the Arabic Department.
2.
A comprehensive examination track: which requires the completion of 33 credit
hours, 24 of which go towards the completion of obligatory, and 9 credit hours of
which go towards the completion of elective coursework, and at the end, passing the
compulsory comprehensive exam to be awarded the degree.
Table 2: Obligatory and Elective Credit Hours for Master Programme
Master Programme
University
Obligatory Courses
Elective Courses Dissertation
Total
Yarmouk University
15
9
9
33
University of Jordan
15
9
9
33
15
9
9
33
18
6
9
33
18
6
9
33
9
33
Hashemite
University
Al-Hussein Bin Talal
University
Al al-Bayt University
Mu’tah University
15
9
Source: by authors based on Universities prospectus 2015
Noteworthy, these coursework differently titled but the same content such as The
Ancestors Methods in Characterizing the Arabic, Issue of the Umayyad Literature, The
Methods of Modern Literary Criticism, Language and Literature Editing of Text, Arabic
syntax Theory, Issue of Jahili ( pre – Islamic )poetry, Specimens of The Abbaside prose,
Arabic lexicon and Idiom, Specimens of Modern and contemporary Arabic Prose, The
Arab phonetic Heritage, The Aspects of modern Linguistic Study, The Methods of Editing
Manuscripts, Literary Texts in Foreign Language, A Seminar in Quranic Texts &
Methodology of Interpretation, Rhetoric in the light of Modern Criticism and so on.
6.0
Doctorate Degree Programme
The issue of the administration and management of Arabic Language programmes are
subject to different pressures and challenges than those of other languages. In general, the
dean’s council at every university has decided to establish a new doctorate programme in
Arabic language and other sub-major topic in Arabic Language to provide the market with
qualified doctors who are more capable to further educate a good an qualified people
135
required by market at all jobs and levels, in addition to understand Islamic values, heritage,
and holy Quran to better worship Allah. Meanwhile, most of universities take the burden to
direct these programmes to non-native speakers whether they are Muslims or not for two
purposes; first, is to educate the Muslims from all over the world and equipped them with
high quality of reading, writing, speaking Arabic Language to better understand the holy
Quran and Islamic teachings and to become a messenger to educate other Muslims in their
homeland. Second, is to explore and clarify the bad image about Islam and Islamic people
in the world and convey the utmost Islamic values and ethics in dealing with others
regardless of their religion.
Universities of Jordan established different PHD programmes in Arabic
Language, which imposed on whose who are going to be eligible to entertain programme
hold a Master degree in Arabic Language and Literature with a minimum very good
average in addition to National English Exam that proof he is capable to listen, read, and
speak English well. The study plan of this programme requires studying 54 credit Hours
divided on obligatory and elective courses as per follow (Table 3: Obligatory and Elective
Credit Hours for PHD Programme):
o
Obligatory Courses, it different from university to another on how many
credit hours should be taken but at least every candidate should cover the
obligatory courses where later will be sit for competency exam that qualified
him/her to be PHD candidate and capable to write dissertation.
o
Elective Courses, also it is different from one university to another on how
many credit hours should be taken, but at least it covers 15 credit hours in the
minimum.
o
Proficiency Exam, upon the completion of all obligatory credit hours, the
student will attend competency exam to discover whether he/she capable to
proceed to write the dissertation or not. If he/she passed, then can start his/her
dissertation proposal with discussions.
Table 3: Obligatory and Elective Credit Hours for PHD Programme
PHD Programme
University
Obligatory Courses
Elective Courses
Dissertation
Yarmouk
21
15
University
University
18
+18
of Jordan
Al al-Bayt
21
15
University
Mu’tah
21
15
University
Source: by authors based on Universities prospectus 2015
Total
18
54
18
54
18
54
18
54
136
7.0
Conclusion
Based on the facts and figures that is presented above, we can conclude that universities in
Jordan offer Arabic programmes which are complying with the standard of quality set by
Jordan Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR). Universities are
reviewing its programmes from time to time to include new elements, issues and subjects
in teaching and learning of Arabic language so that the programmes remain competitive
and attractive to all stakeholders. The updating and upgrading exercise of Arabic
programmes at all levels is always needed to ensure that the programmes can compete with
other languages especially English language prrogrammes. Hence, it is a big challenge for
those universities in Jordan especially in the current situation where Arabs are also keen to
learn other languages and have the courage to master English language. For Malaysian
higher education institutions who offer similar programmes, it is good for the Arabic
programmes here to learn from the Jordanian methods and models especially in terms of
credit numbers, curriculum structure, course content and methods of delivery.
137
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Shaalan, K. (2005). "An Intelligent Computer Assisted Language Learning System for
Arabic Learners". Computer Assisted Language Learning. 18(1 and 2): 81 – 108.
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Professionals in the 21st Century. Lawraence Erlbaum Associates Inc, Publishers: New
Jersey.
University and Ministry Websites:
Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research website
http://www.mohe.gov.jo/ar/Pages/default.aspx
Ministry of Education website http://www.moe.gov.jo/en/
Yarmouk University official website https://www.yu.edu.jo/en/
University of Jordan official website http://ju.edu.jo/home.aspx
Hashemite University official website http://www.hu.edu.jo/
Al-Hussein Bin Talal University official website http://www.ahu.edu.jo/
Al al-Bayt University official website http://www.aabu.edu.jo/
Mu’tah University official website https://www.mutah.edu.jo/index.php?lang=ar
Jordan University of
Science
and
http://www.just.edu.jo/Pages/Default.aspx
Technology
official
website
Al-Balqa’a Applied University official website http://www.bau.edu.jo/
Tafila Technical University official website http://www.ttu.edu.jo/index.php/en/
University of Petra official website https://www.uop.edu.jo/En/Pages/UniLinks.aspx
Philadelphia University official website http://www.philadelphia.edu.jo/
139
Curriculum Design: Teaching New Word of Chinese
Fantasy Novel Among Non-native Learners
Bok. Check Meng1, Goh Ying Soon2
1
2
Universiti Teknologi MARA (Pahang), Malaysia, [email protected]
Universiti Teknologi MARA (Terengganu), Malaysia,[email protected]
Abstract
Chinese Fantasy Novel as a genre is known in the magic, mystery and paranormal
phenomenon. New words taken from Chinese fantasy novel can be integrated in the curriculum
design for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language. This paper discusses the process
involved. The major objective of this paper is to assist in integrating new words in Chinese
fantasy novel in the curriculum design for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language. Thus,
this will give a hand in ensuring non-native learners might gain positive outcomes in the
instruction process.
Keywords: Curriculum Design, New Word, Chinese Fantasy Novel
Biodata: Bok Check Meng, senior lecturer, as a coordinator of Chinese Language
Department at Universiti Teknologi MARA (Pahang) almost seven years, interest in the
area of China Literature, China Literary Language and Chinese New Word Cognitive. He
obtained a grant of RAGS (Research Acculturation Grant Scheme) in 2013. Dr. Goh Ying
Soon is a senior lecturer and he currently teaches Mandarin as the third language to nonnative learners in MARA University of Technology, Malaysia. He has experiences in
teaching Mandarin at primary, secondary and tertiary level for almost 19 years. He has
been actively presenting papers in national and international conferences. His research
interests are on the use of educational technology in Mandarin teaching and learning, webbased instruction, translation, and etc.
1.0
Introduction
Chinese Fantasy Novel as a genre is known in the magic, mystery and paranormal
phenomenon. New words taken from Chinese fantasy novel can be integrated in the
curriculum design for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language. Curriculum design
refers to the specific contents of a particular course (Liu, 2014). It is also a very complex
process that links various components into the courriculum design (Zhang, 2011). The
inclusion of vocabulary of a specific course in the teaching materials for the teaching of
Chinese as a foreign language is driven by its curriculum (Xu & Yang, 2012). There are
altogether 20 government higher institutions in Malaysia (He, 2014). All of these
institutions offer Mandarin as a foreign language courses that put emphasis on the speaking
aspect in the curriculum design. For this reason, the inclusion of the vocabulary in the
140
designated curriculum would be more to oral-orientated. Another issue would be on the
limited learning contact hours in the curriculum of these courses (Ye, 2012). With this
limitation, how to put in new words of Chinese fantasy novel into the curriculum might be
niggling. The major objective of this paper is to assist in integrating new words in Chinese
fantasy novel in the curriculum design for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language.
Thus, this will give a hand in ensuring non-native learners might gain positive outcomes in
the instruction process.
2.0
Research Background
Our research has shown that new words in Chinese fantast novel can be useful to support
the expanding of vocabulary among non-native learners of Chinese (Bok & Goh, 2015).
This is because the non-native learners who do not have ample of Chinese culture
knowledge are keen to gain knowledge pertaining to Chinese culture and Chinese fantasy
novel is able to provide the knowledge which students are keen to learn.
Empirical study reported by Bok and Goh (2014a) has revealed that non-native
learners of Chinese were positive in accepting new words of Chinese fantasy novel as a
source to expand their vocabulary capacity. The challenge is on how to integrate new
words of Chinese fantasy novel into the curriculum design?
Non-native learners are agreeable that by learning new words of Chinese fantasy
novel, their vocabulary amounts are expanded (Bok & Goh, 2014b). However, in the
curriculum design for vocabulary instruction, the selection of vocabulary is basically on
vocabularies that are needed for daily communication and appropriate to enhance speaking
skill (Goh and Burns, 2012: 180). The choices of vocabulary in the curriculum are also
those that are able to express meaning intelligibly (Burns and Richards, 2012). The notion
of communicative competence and the development of a communicative syllabus to
replace earlier grammar-based syllabus models are to be given enough of attention (Trim,
2012). Choice of vocabulary for beginning courses for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign
language focuses on enhancing speaking skill (Jin, 2015). Hence, necessary steps have to
be taken in ensuring that these new words of Chinese fantasy novel can be integrated in the
curriculum when at the same time, it does not create cognitive burden in the vocabulary
acquisition process but enhance communication purposes.
Moreover, the findings of Bok and Goh (2014c) have shown that students of
higher level were having more positive perception in accepting new words of Chinese
fantasy novel as a mean to expand their vocabulary. Thus, in the process of integrating of
new words in Chinese fantasy novel into curriculum, it is advocated that these new words
in Chinese fantasy novel have to be integrated systematically in accordance to the levels of
students’ Chinese learning.
Study of Bok and Goh (2014d) has also discovered that students are able to
understanding cognitively the new words through the learning materials provided. The task
in the curriculum design is to provide ample of exercises and activities for enhancement
and practices in making sure the active use of the new words acquired.
141
In sum, some practice suggestions are provided in the next section in proposing
how these new words in Chinese fantasy novel can be integrated into curriculum design. It
is hoped that these are able to help in making sure that these new words are integrated
acceptably into the curriculum.
3.0
Curriculum Design – Integrating New Words of Chinese
Fantasy Novel
The curriculum is an “academic plan,” which include the purpose of the curriculum, goals
for student learning, content, sequence, and etc. The choice of suitable instructional
materials as well as selection of activities for delivering are connected to the attainment of
the purpose and objectives of the designed curriculum (Crandall, 2012:150). In integrating
new words of Chinese fantasy novel, the thoughts are on how the integrating efforts can be
made especially on the aspects of contents and learning activities.
İntegrating new words pertaining to Chinese culture in the curriculum design is
the method that can be utilized. Language is a component of a culture. İn the teaching of
Chinese as a foreign language, language and culture are both supplementary (Li & Sun,
2014). Interesting new words of Chinese fantasy novel such as weapons, building, attires,
and etc. can be introduced along with culture teaching section of the curriculum. The
optimum principle is on the attention-grabbing factor (Zhou, 2014; Fan, 2014).
İntegrating new words in Chinese fantasy novel that related to Chinese literature is
another approach that can be used in intergrating these new word in curriculum design.
Language and literature are inseparable (Li, 2011). Hence, it is practical to introduce new
words of Chinese fantasy novel from the aspect of Chinese literature.
Owing to the fact that teaching Chinese as a foreign language (TCFL) is a
discipline that assist non-native learners in mastering Chinese for communication purpose,
hence the curriculum of courses related to the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language
tend to attain the objectives towards using Chinese language for communication purposes.
Foreign language courses generally aim to offer realistic descriptions of discourse derived
from empirical investigations of communication and language use in the community or
specialist field (Basturkmen, 2010: 36). It is the teacher’s or course designer’s
responsibility to work out how the outcomes can be achieved and to develop teaching
strategies and materials and content relevant to the context in which they are teaching
(Leung, 2012:165). Creating contexts and situation for communication in activating the
learning atmosphere for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language is also very essential
(Li, 2014). In this manner, we cannot just simply introduce any vocabulary randomly
without referring to the course design. Henceforth, in order to introduce new words of
Chinese fantasy novel into the curriculum in a practical since, integrating process is called
for. Table below depicts some ideas on how to integrate new words of Chinese fantasy
novel into curriculum design.
142
A more recent focus in syllabus design has been on the authenticity of the input
that is provided as a basis for teaching and the role of corpora in determining linguistic
input. Corpora provide a ready source of natural, or authentic texts for language learning
(Reppen, 2010: 4). A concrete description of the kinds of tasks students will face in the real
word is drawn up in the curriculum design. This description, then, serves as the basis for
the design and sequencing of tasks in the syllabus (Van den Branden, 2012: 134).
Additionally, creative activities and innovative pedagogy should be used and applied in the
curriculum design of the courses for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language as to
extend classroom teaching, strengthen learning, as well as to ensure that students are
getting update with contemporary Chinese learning (Wang, 2012). For this reason, the
instructors may incorporate language activities such as drama (Wang, 2009), television
watching (Li, 2013), movie watching (Li, 2011), and etc. that might allow students to use
the new words of Chinese fantasy novel that they have learned in authentic environment
created in the language activities as well as to carry out communication tasks in the
deliberately set language activities.
Table 1: Ideas on how to integrate new words of Chinese fantasy novel into curriculum
design
İdea
Process
Example
İntegrating
İntroducing Chinese traditional weapons
Cultural
new words
aspect
pertaining to
Chinese
culture
143
Literature
aspect
İntegrating
new words in
Chinese
fantasy novel
that related
to Chinese
literature
İntroducing new words that related to Chinese literature,
e.g.:
Dou Po Qiongcang
Novel by Tiancantudou
Language
online
activity
after
classroom
instruction
İntergrating
new words
of Chinese
fantasy novel
in organizing
online
activity
Online quiz:
144
Using
langugae
activity
after
language
class
4.0
İntergrating
new words
of Chinese
fantasy novel
in activity
after
language
class.
e.g.drama, television series watching, movie watching,
comics and so on.
Daomu Biji
Novel by Nanpai Sanshu
Conclusion
This paper has discussed some ideas in integrating new words of Chinese fantasy novel
into curriculum design. Instructors have to use their creativity in the integrating process as
to assist students in the learning process. In addition, the ideas in the integrating of new
words in Chinese fantasy novel can be utilize as well for supplementary new words such as
145
popular words in the web (Bok, Lee & Goh, 2011; Zhu, 2014; Xing & Jin, 2012), jokes
(Zhu, 2012), rhyme (Feng, 2013), and etc. However, in the selection of new words for
additional vocabulary instruction, instructors have to ensure that the selected new words do
not actually bring confusion to the students. Standard new words have to be considered to
avoid misunderstanding among the learners of Chinese as a foreign language.
Furthermore, hidden curriculum refers to the unwritten, unofficial, and often
unintended lessons, values, and perspectives that students learn in a course (Mou, 2011). In
sum, new words of Chinese fantasy novel can be integrated as hidden curriculum of the
courses for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language. The major thought is to assist
students in vocabulary expansion and acquisition within the scope of the curriculum design
of the courses for the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language. The suggested ideas are
also complementary for after class activity and for self-study in general.
5.0
Acknowledgment
This paper is derived from parts of our RAGS (Research Acculturation Grant Scheme)
research project. It is funded by RMI (Research Management Institute), UiTM, Shah Alam,
Malaysia. The support rendered is highly appreciated.
146
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150
Enhancing foreign language acquisition among university
undergraduate students through outside the classroom
activities
Muhd Zulkifli bin Ismail1, Zainuddin bin Ismail2, Wan Muhammad bin
Wan Sulong3, Mohd Sukki bin Othman4, Salina binti Husain5
1
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
3
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
4
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
5
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
This paper reports the findings of a study on the effectiveness of a foreign language
acquisition non-syllabus bounded activities carried out outside the classroom. Students
taking part in this study are from a local undergraduate students pursuing the Arabic
language as a foreign language a specialization. The obstacles in acquiring a foreign
language, especially the Arabic language are often associated with the learning
environment in classroom which is not conducive for language acquisition to take place.
This study which is based on action research approach is done with a pre-designed
language activities outside the classroom in a more realistic and favorable environment for
language acquisition. The subjects are final year students majoring in the Arabic language
from the University Putra Malaysia who have completed their formal Arabic language
courses offered by the university. This is the first out of a three planned activities. The data
is obtained through interviews with the participants at the end of the activities. The findings
show a very positive students response toward the activities. Students are also observed to
have made a promising improvement in their Arabic language acquisition as compared to
their performance after their formal university Arabic language courses. This is in addition
to other findings which are of no less significant.
Keywords: foreign language acquisition, language camping, outside classroom acitvities,
undergraduate, Arabic language
Biodata:
Dr. Muhd Zulkifli Ismail is a lecturer of Arabic language and literature at the Department
of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra
Malaysia. His areas of specialization include Arab literature and comparative literature
Arabic - Malay.
151
Zainuddin Ismail is a language instructor of Arabic language at the Department of Arabic
Language and Civilisation Studies, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia. His areas of specialization include teaching Arabic for non native speakers.
Dr. Wan Muhammad Wan Sulong is a lecturer of Arabic language and linguistics at the
Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication,
Universiti Putra Malaysia since 2003. His areas of specialization include Arabic
Sociolinguistics and Discourse Analysis.
Dr. Mohd Sukki Othman is a lecturer of Arabic language and linguistics at the Department
of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra
Malaysia. His areas of specialization include Arabic Rhetoric Studies and Quranic Studies.
Dr. Salina binti Husain is a lecturer of Spanish Language at the Department of Foreign
Languages, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
1.0
Introduction
The problem in second language acquisition among the students, especially in speaking, is
not a new discussion. Various studies and approaches have been researched to identify the
source of the problem and to find practical solutions to this issue. Among the causes of
these problems are those related to teaching staff, teaching materials and students' attitudes.
Materials and learning activities which do not lead directly to effective speaking is
considered among the main causes of the problem, in addition to the non-conducive
speaking environment during learning (Zainuddin, 2010).
This does not mean that there are problems in the syllabus used when students fail to
master speaking skills as expected. Instead, other methods that are more friendly and
informal, should be used to help students master the language they are learning. Language
patterns and sentence structures which are more related to speaking environment should be
introduced to help then in acquiring the speaking skills. This paper reports the activities
used in informal situation outside the classroom in encouraging and enhancing students
speaking skills. A group of students majoring in the Arabic language participate as
respondents. The activities are in the form of recreational speaking activities outside the
classroom without involving any type of formal traditional learning approach.
Language learning outside the classroom approach through activities such as
camping and co-curricular activities is expected to give better effect to the language
proficiency among students (Khairuzzaman, 2014). These activities are also expected to
motivate students to improve their language skills. They provides a learning environment
which involves the use of human senses in the process, which is more beneficial to students
in applying what they have learned inside their classrooms by giving them the opportunity
to practical application outside the classroom (Firdaus 2014).
This study which is based on action research approach is done with a pre-designed
language activities outside the classroom in a more realistic and favorable environment for
language acquisition. The subjects are final year students majoring in the Arabic language
from the University Putra Malaysia who have completed their formal Arabic language
152
courses offered by the university. This is the first out of a three planned activities. The data
obtained is through interview with the participants at the end of the activities.
2.0
Activities implementation
This is the first program of the three series of program activities that will be implemented
in stages. The implementation of this first program was made in two stages, namely the
pre-implementation stage activities and actual activities.
2.1
The pre-implementation stage activities
2.1.1. Basic data collection
At this stage, researchers collected data from respondents pertaining to the the basic
expressions that are suitable to use during the recreational activities. The respondents who
were the final year students majoring in Arabic, UPM, provided the data based on their
perception of the forms of expression that may be used in the activities. Data was collected
by interviewing the participants as well as engaging them in brainstorming to get as much
data as possible based on the various speaking situation in the activities. The data collected
was in the native language of the participants, which is Malay language.
2.1.2 Module development
A communication module on basic phrases in Arabic-based activities proposed to be
undertaken on site in the Arabic recreation program was developed. This module is based
on the data collected from respondents and is subjected to some modifications based on the
actual tentative program. At the end of each module, students are given the oppotunity to
assess the material provided in terms of practicality, the level of difficulty and practical
application.
Here is the summary of the tentative speaking activities in their various situations:
1.
Communication activities on the bus.
This activity aims to enable the participants to express basic communication
among them relevant to activities and situation throughout the bus journey.
2.
General communication activities in the inn
This activity aims to enable the participants to express basic communication
relevant to the activities and the situation inside the inn.
3.
General communications activities engaged walk to the event
This activity aims to enable the participants to engage in the basic speaking
activities that involve actions before they reach the place of the planned events.
4.
Communication in leisure activities involving games in the water (water rugby).
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Participants are able to express basic communication among themselves relevant
to the activities and the situation involving actions in games in the water,
particularly the water rugby game.
5.
Public communication activities in the inn before the indoor activities
This activity aims to enable participants to participate in the basic communication
pertaining to the activities and the situations inside the inn, such as preparing
lunch and other indoor activities.
6.
Communication activities in obtaining specific information among participants.
This activity aims to enable the participants to communicate with one another in
order to obtain basic personal information.
7.
Communication activities through jungle tracking
This activity aims to enable the participants to express basic communication in
situation involving activities in jungle tracking.
8.
Communication activities related to preparing Arabic food, cooking recipes
This activity aims to enable the participants to communicate among themselves in
giving instruction in situations that involve praparing and cooking Arabic food.
9.
Communication activities in sharing past experiences, current activities and future
plans
This activity aims to enable the participants to express the basis communication
involving sharing past experiences, describing current activities and future plans.
10. Communication activities involving peer-to-peer instruction. Participants were
blindfolded and guided by the their partners to accomplish certain tasks. Their role
were then switched upon accomplishment.
This activity aims to enable the participants to practice basis giving instruction
activities involving the ability to understand and to give clear instructions to their
partners.
11. Activities involving communication skill in engaging in basic business
transaction. Participants involved in the trading game that requires the appropriate
use of basic communication skills.
This activity aims to enable the participants to communicate in activities and
situations involve buying and selling.
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2.2
Actual Implementation Stage
The recreational activities have been successfully implemented as planned with details as
follows:
Place: UPM Marine Science Center, Teluk Kemang, Port Dickson
Date: January 6 to 8, 2015, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Num. Participants: 16 students
Num. Facilitators: 2 researchers
This program has achieved its outlined objectives to encourage students to communicate in
Arabic in a planned situation. Here are some of notes and feedbacks from the researchers
on the activities:
3.0
1.
Activities were implemented throughly starting from boarding the bus to the
recreation facilities and ended on the last day of the program. The participants
were provided with materials for every activities in the form of a small booklet.
Due to the lack of time to practice prior to the departure day, were asked to revise
the material supplied for 10 to 15 minutes before the actual events took place.
2.
When an activity was carried out, participants were not allowed to refer to the
booklet. Instead, they had to carry out the activity by using what they acquire
previously from the studied material in the booklet. At the same time, the
facilitators helped them by giving new expressions as needed during the activity.
3.
At the end of each activities, students were asked to refer to this booklet and
reflect on their performance and the suitability the material provided. They were
asked to comment on the practicality of the material provided and suggestions to
improve the booklet in terms of content.
4.
Among the activities that are supposed to be carried out by the participants some
had to be cancelled due to time factor and the difficulty in implementing them
such as solving a puzzle in Arabic.
Observation
Throughout the activities, researchers observed and reflected on several issues relating to
the implementation of the activities such as the materials used, their practicality, the use of
particular premises, student reactions and involvement toward a particular activity, and
others deemed necessary. At the end of the activities, a reflection session were carried out
with the participants to record their views, thoughts and feedbacks regarding the program.
Generally, their response were very positive and the participants expressed their high
gratitude to be able to experience such speaking activites. Here is a summary of
observations and reflections about the program:
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1.
Informal setting for speaking activity
It is noted that students are more enthusiastic to interact in Arabic during informal
activities without feeling being pressured. The activities were carried out in
arelax, flexible and attractive ways, without any set of formal rules and academic
regulations. They were full of with casual activities capabe of engaging the
participants to communicate in Arabic. Having said that, the result still depands on
the nature of the activities carried out.
2.
The role of the facilitators
The role played by the facilitators has a significant impact on the motivation of the
participants in the program. The facilitator needs to have open minded, friendly
and flexible in implementing the activities. Participants did express their
preference in the number of facilators involved particularly the female facilitators.
Some participants proposed that the active involvement and interaction between
participants and facilitators needs to be maintained continuously throughout the
whole program in order for the program to yield maximum benefit.
3.
Obstacles during activities
Among the problems that this program faced during the implementation the
activities was the lack of continuity in engaging in the Arabic language among
participants. This may be due to the lack of self-discipline among them and the
their tendency to communicate instantly in some situations due to the nature of the
activities. The participants' attention seemed to be distracted from speaking
activities to physical activities that require more attention. This can be clearly seen
in activities such water-rugby in the sea. This was in contrary to the blindfolded
activity which was more focus on the use of languages for survival.
Moreover, the insufficient time a program can be considered to be a
major obstacle in achieving the optimum objective. Participants lamented the
short duration available for some activities despite the fact that they were carried
out for almost three days.
There were some activities seemed not to be favourable to the
participants, especially those involving the participation of the participants
individually and not in group. Such activities caused other participants to divert
their focus on other things.
4.
Nature of the language used
Participants expressed confident when they were able to communicate in simple
and practical expression during communication. Elements of ‘fun’ and
friendliness in these expressions played an important role in making them more
engaging. It is observed that time was crucial in order for them to internalize and
acquire the particular expressions. They also expressed that the activities were an
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opportunity for them to use their vocabulary they accquired over the years
practically, fun and without any stress.
4.0
Suggestions for improvements
After going through the process of observation and further reflection with the participants
and also fellow researchers, a number of suggestions for improvement have been identified.
These suggestions can be applied in the implementation of the second phase of this
program. Among them are:
5.0
1.
Imposing fines or the such to ensure participants commitment in the use of the
Arabic language during the activities.
2.
The period to carry out the program should be increased to a week instead of three
days. A longer period of time could strengthen the participants ability to acquire
the phrases, especially the newly acquired vocabularies.
3.
Such programs should to be implemented early such as the first semester in the
university and should be performed on a regular base every semester. Such
program should be includedn in certain courses such as Arabic for
communication. Students should aslo be appointed as facilators in carrying our
certain activities and participate actively as facilitators until the end of the
programs. Such activities could also be used as extra-curricular activities to
enhance the usage of the Arabic language.
4.
Activities should be diversified further to include different background and
situations. The nature of the speaking activities must be gradually progress from
simple to a more challenging level in the usage of the Arabic language. Among
the proposed activities are marching, acting, buying and selling activity, jungle
tracking and others.
5.
Preparation prior to the activities indended is of great nesscitiey. This will
contribute to the succees of such programs and could ease participants the burden
of studying the module during the activities and render them to apply what they
acquired.
Conclusion
The results from the observations on the implementation of these activities show that
learning environment that is not bound by the traditional and formal format which students
were accustomed with are preffered and well-received by them. They are observed to be
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very pleased with such environment and this helps them enhance their language acquisition
in a more practical way. While their achievement are not up to the expectation overall,
nevertheless these activities promise a more favourable learning environment in acquiring a
second or foreign language such as the Arabic language.
158
References
Khairuzaman Kadir, Suhaila Zailani @ Hj Ahmad, Ummu Hani Hj. Hashim, Khazri
Osman & Nur Syazwina Mustapa. (2014). Keberkesanan Kem Bahasa Arab Dalam
Meningkatkan Tahap Motivasi Dan Keyakinan Pelajar. Prosiding Seminar Pengajaran &
Pembelajaran Bahasa Arab 2014, 55-67.
Mohd Firdaus Yahaya, Mohd Shahrizal Nasir, Wan Abdul Hayyi Wan Omar, Zulazhan Ab.
Halim &Essmat Nasr Sweedan. (2014). Kemahiran menulis dalam bahasa arab menerusi
aktiviti ‘Jawlah Lughawiyyah’. Issues in Language Studies (Vol. 3 No. 1- 2014), 36-53.
Zainuddin Ismail. (2010). Membuat Rakan Kelas ‘Belum-Mesra’ Bertutur Sesama Mereka.
Kongres Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran UKM 2010.
159
Evaluation of Materials Used in Teaching Oral
Communication Skills TO Tertiary Students
Nur Khadirah, A.R.1
1
Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
No matter how good a teaching-learning environment is, it will not be good enough for the
students until they have a book in their hands. As a textbook is essential in a classroom,
choosing an appropriate one is important. Therefore, this paper focused on the evaluation
of a course-book used in the English for Oral Communication class. The tool used to
conduct this evaluation is a checklist. Based on the checklist, the criteria for evaluation are
divided into four parts namely general features, methodological guidance, supplementary
exercises and materials and content. The findings suggest that this course-book could be
beneficial to the course if some adjustments are made. This could serve as a reference for
language instructors from the Language Centre specifically, and syllabus designers
generally in designing activity and useful material to help the students in producing better
communication skills.
Keywords: Materials Evaluation, Materials Design, English for Specific Purposes, Oral
Communication Skills, Tertiary Students
Biodata: Nur Khadirah Ab. Rahman is a lecturer at the Language Centre, National Defence
University of Malaysia. She has five years experience in teaching at tertiary level. Her
academic interests include English as a Second Language (ESL), English for Specific
Purposes (ESP), and Materials Evaluation and Design
1.0
Introduction
Education is a series of learning procedures where one step is taken at a time and the steps
that follow will be based on how the first was done. If the first step was wrongly taken, it
could be made as an example to guide the next ones. To put it in an academic perspective,
it can be said that what happens now in the education world is a guide or reference for any
possibility or improvement in the future.
In the context of material evaluation, the aforementioned situation is always a
crucial factor in determining the quality of the material used in an institution. Not only will
it reflect the ability of the involved institution to provide quality materials for a great
teaching-learning experience, it will also determine whether or not the institution is ready
to improve in the future. Coursebooks, or any guiding books for that matter, are the
prominent guiding materials in education, and how they were chosen to be used in the first
place is extremely vital for future development.
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As Hutchinson and Torres (1994) suggest, "The textbook is an almost universal
element of (English language) teaching. Millions of copies are sold every year, and
numerous aid projects have been set up to produce them in (various) countries…No
teaching-learning situation, it seems, is complete until it has its relevant textbook. "
(p.315). Based on their statement, it is clearly emphasized that no matter how good a
teaching-learning environment is, it will not be good enough for the students until they
have a book, something to refer to, in their hands.
However, just because a book or material has been found to be helpful in certain
teaching-learning environment, it does not guarantee that the book can always act as the
ultimate guide and is never weak or possible to improve. Several questions can be asked in
finding out the exact worth of a particular material such as, “Does it possess clear
objectives?”, “Does it provide enough exercises?” and “Is the material equipped with
comprehensible illustrations?” Unfortunately, those questions will not be enough since they
are only able to provide us with mere descriptions of the material, regardless positive or
negative. A more detailed examination is needed if we were to solve any problem related to
it, and altogether, make a better one.
As stated in some previous researches, we should always ensure "that careful
selection is made, and that the materials selected closely reflect (the needs of the learners
and) the aims, methods, and values of the teaching program." (Cunningsworth, 1995 p.7).
We should already know by now that even if the chosen materials contain a lot of
information and whatnot, until they are purposely utilised by the teachers and students, or
fully integrated with the lesson, the materials are just as good as decorations.
Therefore, the purpose of this assignment is to come up with an evaluation that
could help a language centre to produce good and useful material for students and lecturers.
2.0
Literature Review
2.1
Importance of evaluation
Having materials to be used as something to rely on is crucial in every learning
environment. As Sheldon (1988) puts it, course-books are “necessary evils” as they are the
most widely exploited materials used by many educators. Taking this as an advantage,
many publishers developed course-books for commercial purposes but they are not based
on proper language principles recommended by scholars (Tomlinson, 2010). They are busy
competing with each other and neglect the responsibility in producing good course-book
with reliable input based on the syllabus. Worse still, many course-books, which are
supposed to help in students’ development, are in fact “leading to learner’s failure in
acquiring the language and in the worst case, contain serious pedagogical flaws and
practical shortcomings” (Tomlinson, 2008:3)
This happens because people buy course-books based on the perceived prestige of
the author and/or the publisher, without proper analyses prior to buying the course-books
(McGrath, 2002). In the selection of a course-book, it is important to carry out an
161
evaluation to ensure that it is contextually suitable. Material evaluation can be very useful
in teacher development and professional growth. According to Cunningsworth (1995) and
Ellis (1997), material evaluation helps teachers especially the teacher trainees to be aware
of the important features to look for in course-books as there are wide ranges of published
language material out there. A thorough evaluation will assist the teachers in making
optimum use of a book’s strong points and recognizing the shortcomings of certain tasks
and entire texts. (Sheldon, 1988)
In conclusion of the above, it is important for us to carry out material evaluation to
make sure that the course-books serve their purpose as references and facilitate the learning
environment including attaining the teaching objectives. The course-books should also be
financially viable to the teachers and learners. If we choose the course-books wrongly, a
negative impact will affect the teaching and learning process (Mukundan, 2007).
2.2
Evaluation versus analysis
As evaluation is said important in the earlier part, can we say analysis is equally important?
Is there any difference between evaluation and analysis? Tomlinson (2003:15) defines
evaluation as “…measuring the value (or potential value) of a set of learning materials. It
involves making judgements about the effects of the materials on the people using them…”
and at the same time, he defines analysis as “…asks questions about what the materials
contain, what they aim to achieve and what they ask learners to do” (Tomlinson, 2003:16).
From the definition, I may say that analysis and evaluation are closely related but yet
different. It is important to understand the distinction between them. Analysis is a part of
evaluation. The textbook analysis needs to be performed before commencing the textbook
evaluation. When analysing a book, the students are not taken into consideration.
Meanwhile, when evaluating a book, the evaluators look at the book and the impact of the
book to the learners simultaneously.
In this paper, I will be conducting an evaluation of a course-book used to teach
students in the National Defence University of Malaysia (NDUM). Further explanation on
the course will be discussed in Chapter 3.
2.3 Materials evaluation cycle
Course-book evaluation can take place generally at three different stages. There are preuse, whilst-in-use and post-use. McGrath (2002) suggests that every stage of evaluation has
its own significance. In the pre-use evaluation, firstly, the evaluators can make predictions
about potential value of materials for their users. Secondly, the evaluation can be either
context-free or context-influenced. Lastly, pre-use evaluation often represents quick
impression of its potential value. All in all, as Tomlinson (2003:23) suggests, “pre-use
evaluations can facilitate the textbook selection process by gaining an impression as to the
potential educational value of the course-book.”
Whilst-in-use evaluation on the other hand, helps to “examine the suitability of the
textbook while using them or by observing how it is actually being used” (Tomlinson
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2003:24). It is more reliable because it makes use of measurement rather than prediction.
The limitation of this evaluation is that it measures only things which are observable.
Lastly, post-use evaluations can help to measure actual effects of the materials on
the users. It measures short term effects like motivation and achievability and also long
term effects such as its on-going application. However, this evaluation takes time and
expertise to conduct (ibid.) In its most ideal form, the material evaluation shall be a cyclical
process because the suitability of the material should be continuously evaluated in all the
above mentioned stages.
2.4 Checklist as an evaluation tool
The most reliable way of conducting an evaluation is by using a checklist. According to
Litz (2005), many textbook evaluation framework researchers namely Cunningsworth,
Harmer and Tomlinson have helped teachers to evaluate ELT course-books by using the
checklist based approach though the literature coverage is not extensive. McGrath (2002)
said that using checklist approach is the most economic and systematic way of evaluating
course-books because it ensures all relevant items are considered for evaluation.
There are lists of readily available checklists suggested by related scholars and
researchers in material evaluation. This makes it easier as those checklists can be adapted
and customized based on one’s need and own context (Mukundan & Ahour 2010). To
produce a good piece of checklist, one must make sure that it contains clear and concise
evaluation criteria. These include seeing whether the course-books match up with the
students needs and appropriate for students (Harmer, 1991).
Checklists not only serve as a tool for a quick impressionistic evaluation but also
as a tool for an in-depth evaluation. Cunningsworth (1995) mentioned that a detailed
checklist can be used to perform in-depth evaluation where the appropriateness of the
textbook in serving demands of the syllabus and educational needs of the students can be
evaluated. This means that checklists may not only help to evaluate the physical
appearance of a book but also the reliability of the content as based on the curriculum,
which is ultimately the main function of the book.
As a conclusion, the use of checklist as an evaluation tool is not to be doubted. It
is very economic and convenient at the same time. Evaluators can adapt the existing
checklists by adding or dropping the evaluation items according to their own context and
situational needs.
3.0
The course: English for Oral Communication for Cadet Officers
3.1
Course profile
3.1.1
Type of the course
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The Language Centre of the NDUM is obligated to offer compulsory University courses
namely English courses and foreign languages courses. These courses are intended to
prepare the students with the skills they required to survive later in the real world. The two
compulsory English courses for the students are English for Academic Writing and English
for Oral Communication. This study focuses on the latter course. This course is scheduled
to be conducted every three hours a week, for 14 weeks consecutively.
3.1.2
Focus of the course
As stated in the course syllabus prepared by the Language Centre, “this course focuses on
the techniques of producing good spoken discourses (oral presentation, speech & briefing)
using the English sound and speech systems. Aspects of sound production and speech
production aim at improving intelligibility and communicability will be covered. It will
also incorporate aspects of confidence building, visual aids preparation and audience
handling. Students (learners) will have substantial practice in speech delivery.” (Language
Centre, 2012)
3.2
Overview of the course
Size of group: 25 students
Course length: Three hours x 14 weeks
Learners: The level of proficiency of the students is considered as intermediate level. In
average, they scored band 3 (modest users of English) and band 4 (competent users of
English) in the Malaysian University English Test (MUET). The students sat for MUET
during their first year in the university.
Course objectives: At the end of the course, students should be able to:
1. demonstrate ability to reproduce appropriate speech sound;
2. distinguish and reproduce various spoken discourse;
3. identify and participate in various types of presentations.
3.3 Content of the course
The content of this course covers mainly on the speaking skill. As the objectives of the
course have been mentioned earlier, the materials chosen should comply with areas
including the speech production, spoken discourses and different types of presentation. As
stated by Dudley-Evans & St. John (1998, p.170-171), “materials selected should be used
as a source of language, a learning support, for motivation and stimulation or for
reference.”
Thus, the Language Centre took the initiative to produce their very own in-house
course-book to be used by both the lecturers and the students. The name of the course-book
is “English for Oral Communication”. This 59-pages course-book was published in the
164
year of 2009. The cover page is green in colour. It consists of six chapters. The chapters are
Developing Self Confidence, Non-Verbal Communication, Preparing Speech Outline,
Types of Speeches, Military Briefing and Cross-Cultural Communication. However, there
are no AV materials included to support the course.
3.4 Student assessment
Students are assessed at the end of each semester (14 weeks). The questions set for the
assessment purposes are solely based on what have been taught to the students. This means,
the questions cover the content of the course as listed in the course syllabus. The purpose
of an assessment is to measure the competency learners have gathered along the course
carried out (Dudley-Evans & St John, 1998, p. 210).
4. Analysis and Evaluation
“The major criteria for selecting materials are whether the materials are useful and
stimulating to the learners, to what extent the materials match the stated learning
objectives, (whether the carrier content can match the real content) and to what extent the
materials support the learning” (Dudley-Evans & St. John 1998, p. 173). In other words,
the quality of a course-book depends on its ability to go along with the real lesson, which
consists of clear objectives and ever-changing participants. If the book fails to connect with
any of them, this basically means it is not contextually compatible, helpful, or appealing. In
this chapter I will be discussing on the course-book based of few evaluation criteria.
4.1 Criteria for evaluation of the course-book
The criteria are divided into four major parts namely general features, methodological
guidance, supplementary exercises and materials and content. These criteria are chosen
based on the fact that a detailed evaluation of the involved material should be done in order
to come up with the best choice of course-books available out there (Sheldon, 1988).
Therefore, the evaluation should cover both the physical and content of the course-book,
and most importantly, its ability to link with the lesson, teacher and learner. In the
following discussion, it will be divided into several parts as mentioned earlier.
4.2 Discussion of the course-book evaluation
4.2.1 General features
This course-book provides adequate information on the objectives of the text used and the
methodology. Basically, all of the texts used in the course-book are related to topic. For
example, the author chose the text “Please Help Keep the World Safe” to show example of
a persuasive speech (refer Appendix A). There are a lot of persuasive statements used in the
text and it gives a clear picture to the learners in understanding how to deliver a persuasive
speech better.
165
In terms of in-book practices, lecturers are not provided with suggested answers
for the exercises provided in the course-book. This may result to lecturers not using the
exercises in the class or as take-home exercises as the lecturers may not have sufficient
time to produce answers for the questions. This is supported by comments I heard from
most of the lecturers where they hoped that they will be provided with suggested answers
so that they can maximise the usage of the course-book.
Visual wise, illustrations are considered sufficient to help the learners to
understand better. However, adding more pictures and graphics will be beneficial. This is
because the course-book contained too much writing with no proper subtitle. There are
merely words with lack of numbering and bullet used. As this course focused more on the
communication skills, using too many words can be considered as irrelevant. Yet, the
authors did try to provide a pie chart in page 10 (refer Appendix B) but it is a fail attempt.
Neither the learners nor the lecturers understand what the pie chart is trying to convey. This
should not happen in a course-book as this may spell unsuccessful language learning.
4.2.2 Methodological guidance
In terms of how to use the course book, I must say that there is no guidance or reference
provided with the course-book. Lecturers have to use their own interpretation and
techniques to activate the students’ background knowledge before reading any text
provided in the course-book. The activation of ‘schemata’ is necessary in order to create a
meaningful learning. If students are not engaged in the process, a successful learning
experience may not take place. As Rumelhart (1980) believes, schemata may represent all
levels of knowledge the reader possesses and the key to total reading comprehension is
how he or she uses it.
Conversely, lecturers are given adequate examples on how to teach topics listed in
the course-book. The step-by-step and examples are given to suffice the teaching-learning
process. For example, the steps to produce a military briefing are listed in an
understandable way, from the beginning until the follow-up briefing.
4.2.3 Supplementary exercises and materials
Supplementary exercises help to reinforce the topic learners have learned. Therefore, it is
necessary for a course-book to provide exercises after each topic. The lecturers may not
have sufficient time to conduct the exercises in class but if it is provided in the coursebook, the learners will have the chance to attempt the exercises out of the contact hours.
For this course-book, it supplies exercises but I do not think there are enough extensive
exercises. Lecturers may need to use their own time finding suitable exercises to be
conducted in the class and this is very time-consuming.
Additionally, the instruction on how to carry out the exercises provided is not
given to the lecturers. According to Richards and Rodgers (2001), in order for a student to
achieve communicative competence, he or she must have access to all four skills of
communication (speaking, listening, reading & writing). If oral instructions or explanations
166
are not provided, the opportunity for the students to ask questions and respond to the
situation verbally will cease to exist – hence stooping them from being orally active. Most
of the exercises require the students to read the notes and answer the exercises. I must say
that the way this course-book is presented is more suitable for a traditional classroom
where the teacher ‘dictate’ what is written in the book and the students then answer the
‘comprehension-like’ questions at the end of the notes. This type of activity promotes
memorisation than meaningful learning experience. In this more modern era, students are
more likely interested with active classroom rather than passive. Some adjustments need to
be done to make students find that learning, English especially, is fun.
Furthermore, to help improve students’ communication skills, the usage of audiovisual materials should be beneficial. However, this course-book does not come with any
cassettes, videos, VCDs or DVDs for the lecturers. The lecturers need to gather all
supplementary materials themselves. This is because the usage of only the course-book
may not promote a fun learning experience for the learners. Based on the feedback from the
lecturers, when they use multimedia materials, the students perform better in their
communication skills than when the lecturer solely use the course-book. This is in line with
Joshi (1995) who proposes that oral and visual aids are able to increase the effectiveness of
classroom teaching-learning process.
4.2.4 Content
The most crucial part of a course-book is the content. The needs of the learners are spelled
out in the content itself. In this course-book, the texts and activities provided are related
and relevant but unfortunately not enough or lacking. The major objective of this course is
for the students to be able to produce good spoken discourse using the English sound and
speech systems. However, none of the topics presented in the course-book touches on the
principles and mechanics of speaking and pronunciation and articulations. The students are
expected to know the phonetics symbols but they are not introduced here in the course
book. In all the past years exam papers analysed, the topic on phonetics never fails to come
out in the assessment. The students are tested to transcribe word and sentences to phonetics
symbols. They also need to familiarise with the location of the speech production. Those
are very technical terms and they are not included in the course book. This course book is
indeed lacking of the most crucial topic, the phonetics and mechanics of speech production.
Consequently, the lacking of the major topic in the course-book made the content
of the course-book not matches the outcomes of the course syllabus. This make the coursebook fail to meet the needs of the students. However, this does not mean that the course is
fail as well. The lecturers still need to comply with the course outcomes stated in the course
syllabus which means that the topic on speech production is being taught to the learners but
using the lecturers’ own materials.
On the other hand, the content of the course-book is presented at an appropriate
level of the students. The language used and the words choice are understandable for the
students. However, the example of speech provided in the course-book is not appropriate
with the Malaysian culture and background. In page 31 of the course-book (refer Appendix
167
C) the example uses name of places (e.g: Chartres Cathedral) which are not familiar with
the Malaysian context. The learners might need to have a similar background to get
engaged with the text.
Other than that, the texts and materials chose for the course-book contains real life
issues that encourage critical thinking and meaningful learning. Chapter 6 where it
discussed the intercultural communication provides the learner with critical questions on
cultural differences. This type of texts and exercises help the learners to prepare themselves
to face the real world when they become the Military Officers later in the future. It is a
clear fact that as a Military Officer, he or she requires knowledge on both culture and
subculture of the area, region or country he or she is serving. When the course-book
provides them with something relatable and familiar, the knowledge they have is practical
and purposeful.
5. Conclusions
Nobody’s perfect. No book is perfect too. I believe this course-book could serve its purpose
better if some adjustments are made. Firstly, the major topic which has been listed in the
syllabus but not in the book is the topic on phonetics and phonology. The Language Centre
should take the initiative to improve the course book by adding this element into the book.
Transcribing phonetically may not be important if we talk about the usage in the real world.
However, this topic is being tested in the tests. Thus, it is important for the students to
know how to transcribe a sentence or even a word.
Secondly, the visual wise of a course-book plays an important role to sustain the
attention of the users. This book could be better if the layout is improvised. There are too
many words in every page that makes it boring and dull to the students. With some addition
of pictures, colours, and graphs may increase the motivation of the students to stay ‘awake’
while using this book. The use of bullets and numbering can also help to differentiate
headings and subtitles.
Lastly, the usage of AV materials namely DVDs and VCDs could be very helpful
in the learning process as the course focuses on speaking and communication skills. By
hearing the pronunciation of words from the native speakers will eventually help in
improving the students’ speech production. The class will also be livelier as the learning
process does not only stick to the traditional way of learning.
168
References
Cunningsworth, A. (1995). Choosing your Coursebook. UK: Heinemann English Language
Teaching
Dudley-Evans, T. & St John, M. (1998). Developments in English for specific purposes.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ellis, R. (1997). ‘The Empirical Evaluation of Language Teaching Materials’. ELT Journal
51(1), 36-42
Harmer, J. (1991). The Practice of English Language Teaching. New York: Longman
Publishing.
http://www.upnm.edu.my (2012). Portal Rasmi Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia.
[online] Retrieved from www.upnm.edu.my.
Hutchinson, T & Torres, E. (1994). ‘The Textbook as Agent of Change’. ELT Journal,
48(4), 315-328
Joshua, M. (2005) ESL Textbook Evaluation Checklist. The reading matrix, 5(2),
Retrieved from http://www.readingmatrix.com/reading_projects/miekley/project.pdf.
Litz, D. R. A. (2005) Textbook Evaluation and ELT Management: A South Korea Case
Study. Asian EFL Journal, no volume and page numbers given. Retrieved from
http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/Litz_thesis.pdf
McGrath, I. (2002) Materials Evaluation and Design for Language Teaching. Edinburgh:
Edinburgh University Press.
Mukundan, J. & T. Ahour (2010) A review of textbook evaluation checklists across four
decades (1970-2008). In Research for materials development in language
learning:Evidence for best practice. (Eds) B. Tomlinson & H. Masuhara. London,
Continuum.
Mukundan, J. (2007). ‘Evaluation of English Language Textbooks: Some Important Issues
for Consideration’. Journal of NELTA, Vol 12 No 1&2; 80-84
Sheldon, L. E. (1998). Evaluating ELT textbooks and materials. ELT Journal, 42(4), 237246. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/elt/42.4.237
Tomlinson, B. (2010). ‘Principles of Effective Materials Development’. In N, Harwood
(ed.) (2010). English Language Teaching Materials: Theory and Practice. New York:
Cambridge University Press.
169
Tomlinson, B. (Ed.) (2003). Developing Materials for Language Teaching. London:
Continuum.
Tomlinson, B. (Ed.) (2008). English Language Learning Materials: A Critical Review.
London: Continuum.
170
Appendix A
171
Appendix B
Appendix C
172
Explicitation Strategy in the Translation of ‘Rihlah Ibn
Battutah’ Into English
Syed Nurulakla Syed Abdullah1, Mohd Zaki Abd Rahman2, Ab Halim
Mohamad 3 Muhd Zulkifli Ismail 4
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
2
University of Malaya, Malaysia, [email protected]
3
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
4
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
In translation, the utterances delivered in the form of implicit meaning in Arabic are not
necessarily appropriate to retain that form in English. This results in a reversal, with the
form of the implicit meaning being translated into the explicit meaning form. This study
aims to identify the forms of implicit meaning in the book ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ and to
explore the influence of culture on this translation and the strategies used by the translator
to deal with the difficulties of translating the implicit meaning. This study is a qualitative
study using case study and textual analysis methods based on the approach proposed by
Klaudy and Károly (2005), and Pym (2005). The data analysis was carried out using
ATLAS.ti software. The results of this study not only show that explication in translation is
driven by cultural factors in general but also that it is significantly influenced by religious
influences, Arabic Rhetorical Sciences (Balāghah), lexicogrammatical and pragmatic
factors, communicative preferences and the politeness of the target language itself. This
study will hopefully spark interest and a deeper focus on explicitation strategy in the field
of translation.
Keywords: Translation, Implicit Meaning, Explicitation, ATLAS.ti, Textual Analysis
Biodata: Syed Nurulakla Syed Abdullah is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Foreign
Languages, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia
(UPM). His research areas cover Arabic classical translation, technical translation and
translation training. He is involved in various translation and editing activities on scholarly
works as well as important government blueprints and reports.
1.0
Introduction
Translation undoubtedly is a medium connecting the various nations of the world. It has
been given a wide definition by various scholars but the brief definition given by Hatim
and Munday (2004) as the following gives a comprehensive picture of the definition of
translation:
173
1. The process of transferring a written text from SL to TL, conducted by a
translator, or translators, in a specific socio-cultural context.
2. The written product, or TT, which results from that process and which functions in
the socio-cultural context of the TL.
3. The cognitive, linguistic, visual, cultural and ideological phenomena which are an
integral part of 1 and 2.
(Hatim
and Munday, 2004:6)
According to Munday (2009), of late, the third aspect of the above definition has
generated a great deal of interest and attracted the attention of researchers in the disciplines
of translation. This study is no exception, especially in terms of focusing on the elements of
meaning and its relevance to the explicitation strategy in the translation of the book ‘Rihlah
Ibn Battutah’ into English.
In the translation of `Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ into English titled `The Travels of Ibn
Battuta’, there exist implicit meanings in the source text that get translated as explicit
meanings in the target text. The implicit information is part of the meaning which is to be
communicated in the translation as it is part of the meaning intended to be understood by
the original writer (Larson, 1984:38). Thus, translating implicit meaning can be very
challenging and demanding due to the fact that implicit meaning is not overtly seen (alZughoul, 2014). The meaning conveying the implicit information has implied message and
this message is a part of the whole meaning. For that reason, translation of implicit
meaning may also lead to misinterpretation of the target language due to linguistic and
cultural differences between the source and target languages. In addition, implicit meaning
can also create ambiguity or even vagueness in the target language (al-Zughoul, 2014).
1.1
The Translation of ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ into the Languages of
the World
The full title of ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ in Arabic ‫تحفة األنظار في غرائب األمصار وعجائب األسفار‬
(Tuhfat al-Nuzzar fi Ghara’ib al-Amsar wa Aja'ib` al-Asfar) may be translated as ‘A Gift to
Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling’. However,
the book is often simply referred to as the Rihla ‫الرحلة‬, or ‘The Travels’ and this title is the
most famous and prominent. The writing of ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ that at first only confined
to northern Africa since the fourteenth century began to spread its fame to the outside
world when the West discovered this gem of writing and translated it into German, French,
English and Italian. Thereafter, the writing of ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ continued to spread
with the translation into Asian languages, including Persian, Japanese, Chinese and
recently, Malay.
The early manuscript made its first appearance in Europe in the eighteenth century
as noted by David Waines in his book, ‘The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta – Uncommon Tales of
a Medieval Adventurer’:
174
“Judging by the number of extant manuscripts of his travels, some 30 in
all, Ibn Batutah had nevertheless posthumously enjoyed some popularity
in the Middle East, especially in Maghrib (present-day Morocco). In
Europe its importance appears to have been first recognized only when
two famous traveller-explorers to the Arab world, Ulrich Jasper Seetzen
(1767- 1811) and John Ludwig Burckhardt (1784 - 1817), had purchased
abridged copies in manuscript acquired on their travels in the Middle
East.”
(Waines: 2010)
The writing is of great stature as Ross E. Dunn wrote in his book, ‘The
Adventures of Ibn Battuta – a Muslim Traveller of the 14th Century’:
“The book has been cited and quoted in hundreds of historical works, not
only those related to Islamic countries but to China and the Byzantine
Empire well. For the history of certain regions, Sudanic of West Africa,
Asia Minor, or the Malabar Coast of India, for example, the Rihla stands
as the only eye-witness report on political events, human geography, and
social or economic conditions for a period of a century or more.”
(Dunn: 2012)
Unlike many other Arabic writings which inclined to be lengthy, the work of
‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ that spread to the outside world was mostly in the form of a concise
edition. The translation of the first complete concise edition was published by Samuel Lee
in the Oriental Translation series in 1829 with the title ‘The Travels of Ibn Batùta
translated from the abridged Arabic Manuscript Copies’. The translation into French
edition appeared in 1853-58 through the efforts of MM. C. Defremery and B.R. Sanguinetti
for the Société Asiatique. The translation into French comprises four volumes. The French
edition features the Arabic text together with the French translation complete with notes
and various variant readings. The French translation is acknowledged as a significant
achievement in a complete edition of the translation of ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ and forms as
the basis for the translation into English.
1.2
The Translation of ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ into English Edition
The original work is huge. Mackintosh-Smith (2002) in his book ‘The Travels of Ibn
Battutah’ agrees that:
“If the (book of) Travels is steep in spirit, it is also rich in solid
observation. On the pre-Ottoman states of Anatolia, the Khanate of the
Golden Horde, the Sultanate of Delhi, the Maldives and the Empire of
Mali, Ibn Battutah is the major source of his time. Gibb, his English
translator, called him ‘the supreme example of ‘legeographe malgre
lui’.”
(Mackintosh-Smith: 2002)
175
The translation into the English edition proved to be a really great challenge in
translating ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ as a classical writing. This fact is clearly documented in
the preface and blurb (publisher summary) of the English edition. The English edition was
pioneered through a proposal by Gibb in 1922, and the process of translation went through
a very lengthy eventful journey before it was completed in 2000. A total of five volumes
were successfully published; the first in 1958, the second in 1962, the third in 1971, the
fourth in 1994, and the fifth and final volume containing the index for the previous four
volumes was published in 2000. The entire translated English edition took 78 years to
complete.
The first English edition as translated by Gibb debuted in 1958. The delay was
due to the fact that Gibb had a very busy and illustrious career that saw him elevated as a
Professor at London, Oxford and Harvard. After the second volume was successfully
published in 1962, Gibb continued his efforts to publish the third volume. While
completing the third volume, he returned to England from Harvard gravely ill as he had
suffered from a stroke. Gibb sought the help of his friend, Beckhingham, to assist him in
proofreading and providing maps for the third volume. Beckhingham wrote about Gibb’s
perseverance in his translation work:
“When he returned to England from Harvard he was a very sick man,
unable to utter more than a sentence or two without being exhausted. It
is evidence of great courage and determination, as well as impressive
scholarship, that he completed volume III under such difficulties. I gave
him some help with reading the proofs and preparing the maps. About
six months before he died he proposed that I should take over the project
from him.”
(Beckhingham, 1994:ix)
However, Beckhingham who aspired to complete the fifth volume of the
translated English edition containing the index also died before he could fulfil his wish.
Thereafter, Bivar (2000) took over the task of indexing, thereby completing the
implementation of the proposal put forward by Gibb in 1922. The blurb on the bind of the
fifth volume of the English translation edition chronicled the 78 years of trials and
tribulations while completing the translation project.
“‘Almost everything that is known of the life and personality of Ibn
Battuta is derived from his own narrative of his travels’, so wrote
Professor Sir Hamilton in his Foreword in 1957 at the start of this
Hakluyt Society project. Gibb was to die from a severe stroke shortly
before the third volume was published in 1971. Professor Charles
Beckhingham nobly stepped into the breach and took in hand the
translation of the fourth volume with annotations. But Beckhingham too
was to die before the completion of the project could be achieved and it
was Professor David Bivar who offered to compile the extensive index,
covering all four previous volumes, which at last completes the proposal
that Gibb made to The Hakluyt Society as far back as 1922.”
176
(The Travels of Ibn Battuta,
blurb, 2000)
Beckingham (1994) also wrote in ‘The Travels of Ibn Batuta: AD 1325 –
1354’ that:
“It will be a long time before a definitive commentary on the Rihla can
be attempted. It must be remembered that considerable number of Arab
books, written in or before his time, has still not been catalogued, let
alone printed. Mosque libraries and private collections in Morocco are
believed to contain rich collections of such works. Ibn Battuta and Ibn
Juzayy may be able to identify many more of the qadis, preachers and
jurists of whom he speaks. We may also find the sources from which he
took information which he presents as the results of his own
observation.”
(The Travels of Ibn Batuta: AD 1325-1354; vol. IV,
Hakluyt Society)
2.0
Literature Review
Elam M. (2002) suggests that in the process of understanding the implicit meaning, the
translator needs to enhance his efforts to get an accurate interpretation through the process
of interpretation and visualisation. Translators need to know certain things that the situation
and context accompanying the text. Elam M. (2002) also quoted the views of Aminuddin
(1985) who emphasised the existence of the phrase ‘reading the lines’, namely reading to
understand the meaning as written, and the phrase ‘reading between the lines’, which is
reading to understand the hidden meaning or implicit. The process of ‘reading the lines’
and ‘reading between the lines’ is highly relevant in the translation process that requires the
translator to make the distinction between explicit meanings with that of implied meanings.
A review of studies conducted in the domain of implicit meaning in translation
and explicitation approaches prove that this study is widespread and attracting the attention
of many scholars. This field also sees Arab scholars showing serious studies connected
with explicitation. Among others, Waleed Othman (2006) focused on explicitation
techniques in Arabic-English translation, while Ashraf A. (2010) studied explicitation
conjunctions in Arabic text, translation and translation materials written by the same author
through his doctoral thesis titled “A Corpus-Based Study of Conjunctive Explicitation in
Arabic Translated and Non-Translated Texts”. In addition, al-Masri H. (2008) reviewed
the linguistic loss in the translation of Arabic literary texts into English. In the analysis, alMasri touched the aspects of implicit and explicit translation.
In the context of translation that does not involve the Arabic language, this area
saw the emergence of some interesting research. At the regional level, namely Indonesia,
Elam M. (2002) studied the meanings of implicit in the novel “Harry Potter and the
Prisoner of Azkaban” by J.K. Rowling, while at the global level, Saldanha (2008) reviewed
the relationship between the role of the translator and explicitation strategy. Mareva (2009)
177
also explored the question of why translations by students are longer than the translations
by professional translators. Through the doctoral thesis entitled “Explicitation and
Implicitation in Translation: A Corpus-based Study of English-German and GermanEnglish Translations of Business Texts”, Becher (2011) describes explicitation and
implicitation in business text translation by reviewing the English-German and German English-based corpus. Becher’s study appears unique and distinctive as he views
explicitation and implicitation from both directions of translation, i.e. English-German and
German-English.
The study as presented by the author is different from previous studies that have
been highlighted particularly in the aspect of focus and objectives of the study. This study
aims at the identification and discussion of translation on the implicit meaning in the text
‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’. Data analysed by this study is the set of dialogues in the book
‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ and the study was conducted on 149 sets of dialogues contained in
the book. Types of texts like the dialogue is something that has never been explored in
studies conducted previously in this domain, both in research related to Arabic and nonArabic language.
2.1
Explicitation Concept
Basically, the concept was first introduced by Vinay and Dalbernet in 1958 as part of the
procedure that was divided by them into two categories, namely direct and indirect
translation procedures. This concept received a much needed boost when in 1964 Nida
developed explicitation idea through terms that include additions, subtractions and
alternations. Some explicitation techniques have also been introduced by Nida (1964).
However, the explicitation hypothesis by Blum-Kulka (1986), which assumes that
the translation process will result in the target text with high levels of redundancy more
compared to the source text is regarded as the first systematic study on explicitation.
However, the views of Blum-Kulka who viewed explicitation with redundancy purposes
were disputed by other scholars such as Seguinot (1988) who argue that the term
‘explicitation’ should be devoted for an addition that cannot be explained by differences in
structure, style or rhetoric between the two languages, and the addition is not the only
explicitation tool. Klaudy and Karoly (2005) also summarises some key features that
suggest explicitation in translation.
The concept that began as an additional procedure in translation that examines the
explicitation in implicit meaning in translation caused by a variety of languages and
cultural enhancement has grown today to trigger a variety of hypotheses, strategies and
techniques. This concept eventually led translation scholars like Pym (2005) to view
explicitation as a means of risk management in the context of translation as in
management.
Klaudy and Károly (2005: 15) gave some examples of standard transfer operations
involving explicitation including lexical specification, lexical division, addition of lexical,
grammatical specification, grammatical elevation (rising) and the addition of grammar.
While the standard transfer operations involving explicitation include lexical
178
generalisation, lexical contraction, lexical omission, grammatical generalisation,
grammatical lowering (downgrading and contraction) and grammatical reduction. Klaudy
and Károly (2005: 15) assert that explicitation and implicitation language is the outcome of
translation strategy adopted by translators.
3.0
Problem Statement
The phenomenon of the existence of the problem in implicit meaning prompted the
emergence of explicitation strategies in translation. Abdul-Raof (2001) pointed out that
languages differ significantly from each other in terms of syntax, semantics and
pragmatics. The difference from the point of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic triggered a
significant problem in meaning in the practice of translation.
Meanwhile, translation is a delivery of the same meaning in the target language.
However, not all the meanings and information in the source language can be exactly
translated into the target language. Texts like ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ contain a lot of
utterances delivered in the implicit form. The form of implicit meanings in Arabic language
and culture though is not necessarily appropriate to be maintained in the target text. This
poses a challenge to the translator to overcome these problems in an effective way without
compromising the message conveyed by the source text.
4.0
Research Objectives
Based on problem statement and literature review above, this study aims to achieve the
following two objectives, namely:
1.
2.
5.0
To discuss the translation of the implicit meaning from the aspect of syntax,
semantics and pragmatics between two different languages which has created
problems in the translation of book ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ into English.
To discuss the strategies used to overcome the problem of implicit meaning in the
translation of the book ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ into English.
Research Questions
Based on the objectives of questions described above, this study suggests the following two
research questions:
6.0
1.
How do differences from the point of syntax, semantics and pragmatics between
two different languages create problems in the translation of the book ‘Rihlah Ibn
Battutah’ into English?
2.
How does the translator overcome the problem of implicit meaning in the
translation of the book ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’ into English?
Significance of the Study
This study attempts to increase awareness among translation practitioners on the
importance of applying explicitation strategy in translation training modules and guidance.
179
In addition, this study is expected to provide new inputs on how to handle Arabic text
translation. It is hoped that the study is able to generate a widespread impact especially in
matters pertaining to problems regarding meanings that often become a big challenge for
the translator, to enrich translation strategies and techniques in the 21st century.
7.0
Research Methodology
The authors use qualitative research method that involves the design and textual analysis of
case studies. Case studies have indeed been applied widely in the study of translation,
especially at the postgraduate levels. Susam-Sarajeva (2009: 37) asserts that:
“Case studies are, I would argue, the most common research method taken up by
students persuing a postgraduate degree in translation studies, especially at the
doctoral level.”
Meanwhile, the authors use textual analysis as the method is indeed formidable and
recognised by qualitative research scholars. Silverman (2010:157) describes some of the
advantages of textual analysis:




Richness – close analysis of written texts reveals presentational subtleties and
skills
Relevance and effect – texts influence on how we see the world and the people in
it and how we act
Naturally occurring – texts document what participants are actually doing in the
world, without being dependent on being asked by researchers
Availability – texts are usually readily accessible and not always dependent on
access or ethical constraints.
Data were collected from 149 sets of passages quoted from the Arabic in ‘Rihlah Ibn
Battutah’ based on the edition edited by Talal Harb and published by Dar al-Kutob al'Ilmiyyah, Beirut in 2002. While the translation data was extracted from the book ‘The
Travels of Ibn Battuta’ (1958, 1962, 1971, and 2000).
Further, data coding procedure for identification of implicit and explicit meaning is
determined by the existence of a mismatch parameter (incongruity) between the source text
and the target text.
The taxonomy of this study is ‘The form of implicit meaning changed to explicit in the
translation of the book ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’. This taxonomy is further broken down to
smaller sub-themes, namely:
1.
2.
Arabic text is more concise and compact but English texts contain more words
and redundant information; and
Arabic text is metaphoric, but English text is common prose.
180
For the purpose of validity and reliability study, the authors used the procedure of
inter-rater reliability (reliability between examiners) as a strategy for strengthening the
review. As stated by Marques and McCall (2005), qualitative research is considered to be
less prevalent scientific and its findings accepted in a way that cannot be measured and
evaluated. Hence, the reliability between examiners in qualitative research requires the
examiners (inter-raters) to engage in order to give full attention to reading material, which
then have to be interpreted, and at the same time the examiners need to demonstrate the
same or a basic understanding of the topic being discussed.
Marques and McCall (2005 ) clarify that the reliability among examiners is
viewed as a means of strengthening (solidification tool) that can contribute to the quality of
qualitative research as well as the seriousness of qualitative research to be given greater
consideration in the future. More importantly, with the involvement of independent
examiners who originally have no connection with the study, the analysis of the data
obtained will provide strength to the qualitative researcher as a study ‘instrument’ and
significantly reduce the room for bias that will influence the findings of the study.
“As explained earlier, the researcher is usually considered the
instrument in a qualitative study. By using interrater reliability as a
solidification tool, the interraters could become true validators of the
findings of the qualitative study, thereby elevating the level of
believability and generalizability of the outcomes of this study.”
Marques and McCall
(2005:440)
8.0
Analysis and Discussion
By using the incongruity parameter between the source text and the translated text, the
authors obtained data that show the existence of implicit meanings in ‘Rihlah Ibn Battutah’
that present difficulty to the translator enough to push him to do explicitation in translation
process.
Table 1: Themes to be amended from implicit meaning form to explicit
Rihlah Ibn Battutah
The Travels of Ibn Battuta
Arabic text more concise and compact
Target text contains additional words and
information
Arabic text is metaphoric
Target text remains in ordinary prose form
or remains as a metaphoric form
In the following pages, the authors explore the five dialogue samples that have
been selected to describe explicitation strategy in translating implicit meaning in ‘Rihlah
Ibn Battutah’ for the purpose of analysis and discussion.
181
Arabic text which is more compact and concise become English texts that contain
additional words and information.
The first example presented here under this heading is the most striking example of this as
this example highlights the key issues underlying our discussions about the first theme that
set the tone for further discussions in this analysis.
(1)
P 1: DATA BABM RIB.rtf - 1:2 [ ] (97:97) (Super)
Codes: [Arabic text more concise] Pages: (RIB) 47/(TIB) 31
"‫ "سوف تحج وتزور النبى صلى اهلل عليه وسلم‬: ‫فقال‬
... he said: ‘You shall make the Pilgrimage [to Mecca] and visit [the tomb of] the Prophet
[at al-Madina] ... (TIB) 31
In this example, the word ‫ تحج‬has been translated longer by additional words
and information, namely: “You will go for Hajj in Makkah and visit the tomb of the
Prophet in Medina.” In this English translation, there are more words and information:
“You shall make the Pilgrimage [to Mecca] and visit [the tomb of] the Prophet [at al Madina] …”
Context: This dialogue is taking place between Sheikh Abu `Abdillah al Mursyidi and Ibn Battuta when Ibn Battuta was in the town of Fawwa, Egypt.
In example (1), the verb ‫ تحج‬uttered by Sheikh Abu `Abdillah was brief and
literally means, “You will go for Hajj.” However, in English the verb is translated with a
longer “You shall make the Pilgrimage [to Mecca].”
The English translation provides more information than the Arabic text. Sheikh
Abū`Abdillah speech in the form of implicit meaning as in example (1) was translated into
English in a more explicit manner. Translators decipher the meaning behind the words of
the speakers that are usually carry broader meaning in accordance with the opinion of
Leech that “speakers often mean more than they say” (1983:9). This situation prompted
explicitation of implicit meaning of the original text in the target text.
Adding words for explicitation of meaning in English Texts
One of the other findings derived under the first theme is that the compact and concise
Arabic text becomes an English text containing excessive additional words and information
indicating explicitation occurs in the target text as to spur dialogue in the target text.
Analysis of the sample (2) strengthens this statement:
(2)
P 1: DATA BABM RIB.rtf - 1:29 (1057:1057) (Super)
Codes: [Arabic text more compact and concise] Page: (RIB) 271/(TIB) 375
182
"‫"إن العادة إذا جاء الفقيه أو الشريف أو الرجل الصالح ال ينزل حتى يرى السلطان‬: ‫فقال لي‬
Then I said to him, “When I lodged, I shall go to him,” but he said to me, “It is the custom
that whenever there comes a jurist or a syarif or a man of religion, he must first see the
sultan before taking a lodging.” (TIB) 375
Context: The ongoing dialogue between Ibn Battuta and a kadi when Ibn
Battuta arrived in Mogadishu, Somalia. To facilitate understanding of the context of the
dialogue, it is quoted in full here:
The kadi invited Ibn Battuta to meet the Sultan but Ibn Battuta declined saying
that he would only go after getting a place to stay. Then the kadi replied to the words of Ibn
Battuta:
"‫"إن العادة إذا جاء الفقيه أو الشريف أو الرجل الصالح ال ينزل حتى يرى السلطان‬: ‫فقال لي‬
Here, translation into English uses conjunction word ‘but’ to make explicit
meaning. Then I said to him, “When I lodged, I shall go to him,” but he said to me, “It is
the custom that whenever there comes a jurist or a syarif or a man of religion, he must first
see the sultan before taking a lodging.” (TIB) 375. In the original Arabic text, there is no
word that means ‘but’. However, the English translation has used this conjunction to
explicitate the implied meaning in the dialogue.
Explicitation caused by the lexicogrammatical factor
In the following example (3), we can observe explicitation by words added due to
lexicogrammatical factor.
(3)
P 1: DATA BABM RIB.rtf - 1:59 (1618:1618) (Super)
Codes: [Arabic texts more compact and precise] Page: (RIB) 368 / (TIB) 517
"...‫ " أقم أياما وحينلذ تسافر‬:‫السفر من السرا إلى خوارزم فنهاني عن ذلك وقال لي‬
‫" وكنت أرد‬
“I had intended to set out from al-Sara to Khwarizm, but he forbade me to do so,
saying to me, ‘Stay here for some days, and then you may continue your
journey.’”
Context: Ibn Battuta decided to continue his adventures from Sara to Khawarizm but
Sheikh Nu`manuddīn forbade him from doing so. In the example (4), we find additional
words in the target text. In the sentence:
‫أقم أياما وحينلذ تسافر‬
183
It is observed that explicitation strategy is applied in the English translation.
The addition of the words ‘here’, ‘then’ and ‘may’ indicate lexicogrammatical aspects that
lead to the application of explicitation in translation. These words are originally not
available in the Arabic text.
I had intended to set out from al-Sara to Khwarizm, but he forbade me to do so,
saying to me, “Stay here for some days, and then you may continue your
journey.”
Explicitation Explains the Real Denotative Meaning
In the source text data, we can see the use of metaphor while the English text uses the real
denotative meaning of the item.
(4)
P 1: DATA BABM RIB.rtf - 1:11 ["..] (185:185) (Super)
Codes: [Arabic text more compact and precise] Page: (PIB) 54 / (TIB) 62-63
"‫فتدفقا فكالكما بحر‬
‫"أنت الخصيب وهذه مصر‬
“Khasib, the fruitful to bestow, by Egypt’s Nile alights;
Let high the golden tide o’erflow, since sea with sea unites.”
Context: Khasib was the governor of Egypt. Something happened and it had
caused the wrath of the Caliph. The Caliph then decreed that both Khasib’s eyes be gouged
out. After Khasib’s eyes were gouged out, he was left in a market in Baghdad. It was at this
very moment that Khasib was greeted by a poet expressing praise towards him.
"‫فتدفقا فكالكما بحر‬
‫"أنت الخصيب وهذه مصر‬
“Khasib, the fruitful to bestow, by Egypt’s Nile alights;
Let high the golden tide o’erflow, since sea with sea unites.”
In this poem, the word ‫( م صر‬Egypt) can create confusion. Uttering ‫ م صر‬here is
an example of a rhetorical technique or balāghah in Arabic. Here, rhetorical form is majāz
mursal. Majāz Mursal is a phrase used not as the original meaning as there is no
relationship in terms of musyābahah (similarity), but qarinah that prevents the
understanding of the original meaning.
In this example (4), Egypt in the poem is not meant Egypt the country rather the
Nile. The relationship between the words spoken explicitly, namely Egypt with its true
meaning here in the form of implicit, and that the Nile is the al-kulliyyah relationship
which means that what is said refers to the whole but what is meant is a small part of the
whole. In the context of this case, what is said is the land of Egypt, but what is really meant
is the Nile. Therefore, To avoid confusion, ‘Egypt's Nile’ is used in the translation of the
kasidah.
184
“Khasib, the fruitful to bestow, by Egypt’s Nile alights;
Let high the golden tide o’erflow, since sea with sea unites.”
(5)
P 1: DATA BABM RIB.rtf - 1:37 (1770:1770) (Super)
Codes: [Implicit meaning explicitated in target text] Page : (PIB) 439 / (TIB) 572
No memos
‫" ال ألبس ثوبا وقع عليه بصر غير ذي محرم مني‬: ‫ قالت‬She said, ‘I shall not wear a robe upon which there has lighted the eye of any man
other than those within the forbidden degrees of relationship to me.’(Gibb, H.A.R.
(trans. and ed. Vol. 3), 1971, p. 572)
Context: The woman did not accept the robe returned to her as the robe has been seen by
muhram.
Here, the word ‫ محرم‬was explained by the translator as “any man other than those
within the forbidden degrees of relationship to me”. The word ‘muhram’ is derived from
Islamic concept of Shari`ah and rendering this word into English is difficult due to
religious and sociocultural differences between the Arabic and English readers. As a
result, explicitation strategy was used to give a clearer meaning of the text to English
readers.
9.0
Conclusion
Through the display of data from the source text and the target text as presented above, it is
clear that the explicitation strategy has a significant role in translation, and this requires the
translator to possess certain skills and competencies in order to be able to apply the strategy
effectively. Source text forms typically have implicit meanings that are appropriate to the
text and the audience of its own, but when translated to the target language, that form of
implicit meaning should be made explicit to comply with the elements of environment,
politeness, linguistics and culture of the target language.
185
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187
French Language Learning Strategies among
Mobility Students
Phang Xin Huey1, Hazlina Abdul Halim2
1
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
This paper aims to investigate the French language learning strategies by mobility students
in France by using Oxford (1990b) taxonomy of language learning strategies. The
respondents of the study were 5 mobility students from different countries, aged between
19 to 23 years old and studied in France. The instrument used for this research were
interviews, and a series of probes to evoke the respondents’ responses concerning learning
strategies’ thoughts and feelings about their experiences. The Daily Interpretive Analysis
(DIA) was used to analyse the results. It was found that the strategies which were used the
most among the mobility students are memory-related strategies to help them to remember
certain vocabularies. Besides that, the respondents pointed out that social strategy is
beneficial for them to faster achieve the learning goals. It is hoped that this research will
provide information about of the use of language learning strategies, which will enhance
French learning for non-native learners. Further, the better understanding of language
learning strategies for French teachers can help students to learn more successfully and
develop their learning autonomy. To this end, this paper can also serve as a research
reference in the field of language learning strategies, particularly the relationship between
language learning and the mobility students in France.
Keywords: language learning strategy, mobility students, French language.
Biodata:
Ms. Phang Xin Huey is formerly a B.A. student in Universiti Putra Malaysia, majoring in
French.
Dr Hazlina Abdul Halim is a senior lecturer and coordinator for B.A. (French Language)
programme at the department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Modern Languages and
Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her main research interests are in the areas of
error analysis and communication and learning strategies in French language.
1.0
Introduction
Learning is a process of acquiring modifications in existing knowledge, skills, habits, or
tendencies through experience, practice or exercise. Learning includes associative
processes, discrimination of sense-data, psychomotor and perceptual learning, imitation,
concept formation, problem solving and insight learning.
188
Strategies on the other hand, are methods or processes used by learners in
learning. Nevertheless, most of the learners are unaware that they are using strategies in
learning. Oxford (1990) defined strategies as behaviours or specific actions taken by the
learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more efficient,
and more transferable to new situations.
In Oxford’s (1990) study, she came up with a language learning strategy system,
which she divided into six categories, including memory strategies, cognitive strategies,
compensation strategies, metacognitive strategies, affective strategies, and social strategies.
These strategies were then divided into two major types: direct and indirect strategies.
Direct strategies include memory strategies, cognitive strategies, and compensation
strategies while indirect strategies include metacognitive strategies affective strategies and
social strategies.
2.0
Literature review
The term “strategy”, which initially came from the ancient Greek strategia, refers to
generalship or the art of war. Specifically, strategy entails the optimal management of
troops, ships or aircraft in a planned campaign. “Tactics” on the other hand, is different but
related to strategies, which are tools to achieve the success of strategies. Nonetheless, the
two terms share some basic concepts: planning, competition, conscious manipulation and
movement toward a goal.
The concept of strategy has been applied to the non-adversarial situations, where
it has come to mean a plan, step or an action is taken for achieving a specific objective
(Oxford, 1990). Today, a strategy is treated as a conscious plan in order for meeting a goal.
Oxford (2003: p.274) mentioned:
“The warlike meaning of the term has largely fallen away, but
conscious control, intention, and goal-directedness remain essential
criteria for a strategy.”
Oxford (1990) further stated that strategies are particularly important for language
learning “because they are tools for active, self-directed involvement, which is essential for
developing communicative competence” (p.1).
Language learning strategy is one of the key strategies researched in the field of
second or foreign language education. Rubin (1975, p.43) defined learning strategies as
“the techniques or devices which a learner may use to acquire knowledge”. Brown (1980,
p.87) further drew a clear division between learning strategies and communication
strategies on the base that “communication is the output modality and learning is the input
modality”. Brown (1980) suggested that, while a learner generally applies the same
essential strategies, such as rule transference, used in language learning to be able to
communicate in that language, there are other strategies such as avoidance or message
abandonment which do not result in learning.
189
Ellis (1986) is another who regarded strategies for learning and strategies for
using, including communication strategies or “devices for compensating for inadequate
resources”, as quite dissimilar exhibitions of a more general phenomenon which he defined
as learner strategies. O’Malley et al. (1985) on the other hand, defined learning strategies
as being “operations or steps used by a learner that will facilitate the acquisition, storage,
retrieval or use of information”. O’Malley et al. (1985) further developed taxonomy which
they divided into three categories, which are metacognitive (knowing about learning),
cognitive (specific to distinct learning activities) and social strategies.
Oxford et al. (1993) defined language learning strategies as a specific actions,
conducts, stages, or techniques that learners use to improve their progress in developing L2
skills. These strategies can simplify the internalization, storage, retrieval, or use of the
targeted language. Oxford's (1990) Taxonomy of language learning strategies was more
deeply classified to two main categories, which are direct and indirect strategies. These
categories are further subdivided into 6 groups; the direct strategies include memory
strategies, cognitive strategies and compensation strategies while the indirect strategies
include metacognitive strategies, affective strategies and social strategies.
Studies on overall language learning strategies have been discussed by many
scholars. Nonetheless, the research that pointed out the utilization in particular strategies
was conducted by various researchers. For example, research in metacognitive and
cognitive learning strategies proposes that transfer of strategy training to new tasks can be
maximized by pairing metacognitive strategies which appropriate cognitive strategies
(Brown et al., 1983).
There are many factors potentially influence a learner’s choice in language
learning strategies (Gardner & MacItyre, 1993). For example, the age, gender, attitude,
motivation, aptitude, learning stage, task requirements, teacher expectation, learning styles,
individual differences, motivation, cultural differences, beliefs about language learning,
and language proficiency (Rubin, 1975; Bialystok, 1978; Abraham & Vann, 1987; Vann &
Abraham, 1990; Oxford, 1989; Oxford & Nyikos 1989; Chamot & Kupper 1989; Ehrman
& Oxford, 1995). Nevertheless, most of the studies zoomed towards at three dynamics
affecting language learner which are cultural background, gender and age. In this study, the
researchers focused on the influence of different cultural backgrounds and the gender on
the use of learning strategies
Yang (1998) made some interesting discoveries about her students’ language
learning strategy use in Taiwan, including strategies for using dictionaries. In a later study,
Yang (1999) discovered that, although her students were conscious of various language
learning strategies, only few of them actually reported using them. Using a journal writing
method, Usuki (2000) discussed the psychological barriers in adopting effective language
learning strategies by Japanese students, who are typically regarded as passive learners, and
recommended more co-operations between students and teachers.
In this research, the target group was students who studied in France. The researchers
defined these students as mobility students due to the fact that the students were involved
in mobility programme from their own country and studied in France. The students came
190
from different countries such as Korea, Netherland, Australia, United States and Brazil and
enrolled in the universities in France. This paper focuses on French language learning
strategies using by mobility student in France. Since 1970s, language learning strategy had
been discussed and many researchers have defined learning strategies in different ways.
However, most of the researches were focus on English language. Therefore, in this
research, researcher will focus on the learning strategies employed by mobility students in
France, to discover which learning strategies were used by them.
3.0
Objectives of the study
This study aims to investigate the use of language learning strategies by the mobility
students in University La Rochelle, France. Hence, the objectives of the study are the
following:
1. to determine French language learning strategies employed by mobility students
in University of La Rochelle, France.
2. to analyze the significant relationship between the use of strategies and other
factors such as cultural background of the students.
4.0
Research Questions
Parallel to the objectives, the following are the research questions for this study:
1.
2.
5.0
What type of French learning strategies do mobility students in University La
Rochelle, France use?
Does learners’ cultural background influence the use of language learning
strategies in French?
Limitations of the Study
The study was limited to mobility student in University La Rochelle, France. The research
will also solely focused on the language learning strategies; it will not take into account the
other types of strategies.
6.0
Research Methodology
The study was conducted qualitatively using unstructured interviews with selected
mobility students. The interviews were conducted after the French class and the interviews
were taken place at the University’s library discussion room or in the empty classroom.
The participants consisted of 5 students from the mobility program from Korea,
Netherland, Australia, Welsh and Brazil. Respondents were young adults in University de
La Rochelle aged from 19 to 23, with different background such as nationality, age and
gender. Participants in this research hold a Certificate of French Studies or the Diplôme
d'études en langue française (DELF). As the number of the female respondents was higher
191
than the male respondents; therefore the interviews were carried out without considering
the male/female ratio.
The interview was based on three main questions (regarding key strategies,
learning difficulties and the effects of learner variables) designed to further probe a
student’s strategy use and to explore some of the factors which inter-relate with this
strategy use. During the interview, the interviewer asked the student questions based on
the prompts and noted the responses for later summarising. In addition to providing direct
answers to the questions, students were encouraged to elaborate on their answers by
providing examples and personal insights, which were also noted by the interviewer.
The interview questions were open-ended to discuss what were the most relevant
about respondents’ learning strategies, their learning experiences, and their experiences in
the French community. A series of probes were used to help broaden the extent of the
researcher’s understanding concerning learning strategies’ thoughts and feelings about
their experiences. The interviews were conducted by the researcher, for between 15 and 25
min. All interviews were recorded, with the permission of the students being interviewed.
After the interviews, the recordings were transcribed. The Daily Interpretive Analysis
(DIA) was used to analysis data.
7.0
Results and discussion
Most of the learners were unaware that they had been using strategies in learning.
According to Oxford’s (1990) study, she divided language learning strategies into two
main types which are direct strategies and indirect strategies. Direct strategies include
memory-related strategies, cognitive strategies, and compensation strategies. Indirect
strategies include metacognitive strategies affective strategies and social strategies. In this
research, researchers discovered that students always unconsciously used the language
learning strategies. This can be seen from the data transcriptions:
“…I’m sorry… I didn’t know about it (language learning strategies)…”
(Lines 54, Respondent 2)
“.. I don’t know the specify strategies, but I heard this before…’’ (lines 172,
Respondent 4)
7.1
The use of direct strategies
Oxford (1990) stated that direct strategies include cognitive strategy, memory-related
strategy, and compensatory strategy. Cognitive strategies are mental strategies the learner
uses to make sense of learning. These strategies allow the learner to manipulate the
language materials in direct ways. When manipulating cognitive strategies, the learner is
involved in receiving, practicing, sending messages, reasoning, and analysing the target
language that they learnt (Oxford, 1990). Learners will therefore utilize their first language
to better understand the target language and it helps the learner to acquire the target
192
language easier. This is because the information of the target language received will be
practised using their first language.
“… French also come from Latin, as Portuguese, Portuguese also come from
Latin, so there are a lot… most of the verbs they also have the same time
(refer to tenses) for Portuguese and French...” (lines 126, Respondent 3)
From the interview, students were found to be always using cognitive strategies
when they make mistakes in the target language. The respondents made use of their
mistakes when practicing the target language by analyzing them to help them to further
improve their target language.
“…if you never make any mistake, you will never know if you are doing
something wrong…” (Lines 16, Respondent 1)
Likewise, a multi-language learner is able to receive the target language more
easily by synthesizing, outlining and practice the structures of the target language with their
own experience in learning language.
“…I think having experience in language, any language before
learning another one is always useful because you can always find
like some grammar point or words are the same which is always
helpful.” (Lines 38, Respondent 1)
Throughout the process of language learning or the other learning process of the
other subjects, memory-related strategies always been the most used strategies by the
learners. Memory-related strategies are used for storage of information. These strategies
assist learners to associate a foreign language item or concept with another but do not
necessarily implicate deep understanding. Learners are to be given the chance to link
mental images, applying images and sounds, reviewing well, and employing action
(Oxford, 1990).
“…I write them down and maybe post them somewhere in my room,
and then look at them continuously every day, but most of the time I
use the vocabulary that I know again…” (Lines 12, Respondent 1)
“… I have to write down a lot of times, the verbs and how to
form…” (Lines 120, Respondent 3)
On the other hand, memory-related strategies are not merely applied by the
learners through reading, writing and speaking repetition. In the current research, memoryrelated strategies also involved listening to music/song, watching French drama show or
movie. The respondents claimed that listening to the sound track of music and also
watching the visual image while listening to the audio from French movies help them to
receive and try to comprehend the target language. Though the memory-related strategies
sometimes were seen as an entertainment by the respondents, they admitted that by using
the strategies, their acquisition of the target language has improved.
193
“I think so yes, it is helpful, when watching movie, we can figure how
people talk, like what they would say, the tempo and the conversation of
the actors, how fast they say….” (Lines 26, Respondent 1)
“…I try to listen a little bit radio, of course the watching télé
(television) to listen more the French, the conversation of people…”
(Lines 72, Respondent 2)
The third strategies under direct strategies, which are compensation strategies are
strategies help the learner make up for missing knowledge. This includes guessing, using
gestures, synonyms and talking around the missing word to aid speaking and writing and
strictly for speaking (Oxford, 1990). In this research, most of the mobility students tend to
be speaking French when they were in France. When they were confronted with situations
where they lacked the vocabulary of the target language, they will try to replace the words
(using synonyms), guess the target language meaning and making guess in the progress of
learning the target language.
“… I try to replace the words that I do not know…” (Lines 82,
Respondent 2)
7.2
The use of indirect strategies
According to Oxford (1990), indirect strategies include metacognitive strategy, affective
strategy and social strategy. These strategies are strategies that are relevant to the learner’s
individually learning way, emotional needs and also their social way in learning a
language. Oxford (1990) claimed that learners choose how to plan, monitor and evaluate
learning, and solve their problems in learning language by applying these strategies. At the
same time, they also have their own method to express their emotions.
Metacognitive strategy is a strategy learners employ to manage the learning
process, through which learners are required to center, arrange, plan and evaluate their
learning. For example, having a schedule in learning language, spend a specify time to
learn the target language. In this research, the participants were the students in University
La Rochelle, and their average age is 22. At this age, the students tend to be using free style
learning mode. They do not have to follow any specific schedule to plan learning the target
language and only will have a planning when they have an exam.
“… Schedule? No… I should have but I didn’t have…” (Lines 128,
Respondent 3)
In whichever area during the learning process, learners will definitely face the
different emotion such as stress and anxiety in the progress of learning. Consequently,
learners will unconsciously overcome their negative emotion in different ways. This kind
of strategy is called affective strategy. Affective strategies concerned learners’ emotional
194
needs such as identifying one’s mood and anxiety level, talking about feelings, rewarding
oneself for good performance, and using deep breathing or positive self-talk.
When we are facing difficulties throughout the learning process, we will easily get
negatives emotions. These difficulties will rise up another emotion defined as “stress”.
According to Lazarus (1966), stress arises when individuals perceive that they cannot
adequately cope with the demands being made on them or with threats to their well-being.”
In this research, the researchers found that the respondents use affective strategy to solve
their problems in learning language. Respondents were seen as having their own methods
to release the stress and wouldn’t give up for learning.
“…if I really feel stress, I would just put it aside and try to do it again by
tomorrow. I wouldn’t give up completely…” (Lines 22, Respondent 1)
“….I just put aside the French…” (Lines 251, Respondent 5)
Besides of the temporally “put aside the French” in the learning process, personal
self-encouragement was seen to be an equally important component in affective strategies.
Respondents were equally found to have a clear mindset to get use to the difficulty that
faced and accept it in learning process.
“…you had to use to it. That’s no other way…” (Lines 66, Respondent 2)
“…I think I overcome it (stress) … asking the teacher and asking them
like is it can just sit down and one to one explains to me…” (Lines 184,
Respondent 4)
French learners in this research were also found to be using social strategy. Social
strategy is another strategy that is mostly used by mobility students. Social strategy
includes as communicating with native speakers, associating with friends in the target
language, asking for help in doing a language task and exploring cultural related things or
places (Oxford, 1990). In learning a language, communication is always seen as a useful
method in acquiring a new language. French learners in this research were seen to always
seek the opportunity to speak with the native speaker to improve on their target language.
“…I prefer speaking with the people, like especially my French friends,
I will tell them continuously like just if I’m saying something
ridiculous, stop me correct me, and they did…” (Lines 18, Respondent
1)
“…you need to force yourself to speak French…” (Lines 118,
Respondent 3)
“…… I find that I learn better that I’m using it in speaking to
somebody…” (Lines 168, Respondent 4)
195
On the other hand, during the time facing problem on language learning process,
learners use social strategy such as asking friends and also lecturer in doing a language
task.
“… if there is something that I don’t understand, I will definitely ask, my
French friend, ask my professor…” (Lines 18, Respondent 1)
“…asking the teacher and asking them like is it can just sit down and one
to one explain to me…” (Lines 184, Respondent 3)
Environment also is an issue for learning a language. In an environment where is
in the target language environment such as French in France, English in United States can
helps to booms up the level of learning language. Researcher figure out the participant in
this research mentioned the environment is important to learn a language.
“… I think I learn French more quickly begin here (in France) speaking
with people that what I had done in the classroom…” (Lines 36,
Respondent 1)
“…I can say just go to the country like I did now, I think this is best way
to learn…” (Lines 68, Respondent 2)
8.0
Overall result
From the qualitative analysis, researcher conclude that memory-related strategies such as
repeating read, write, speak and listen music, watch French show are most used by mobility
students in France. Moreover, researcher also found out that social strategies are also a
strategy that popular among the other strategies.
Last but not least, other than strategies, environment also have been seen as a
important issue that affect language learning and this have to have a more details research
on environment and language learning strategies.
9.0
Conclusion and Implication
Language learning strategies have been developed since 1970s, however, there are not
many learners know that they had been using the strategies unconsciously during their
learning process. Since it is severe for language learning learners to understand the
importance of using language learning strategies in the process of language learning;
hence, language teachers should deliver this message to their students. According to the
results of this study, some students showed that they do not really use these strategies for
their foreign language (French) learning even though they know the strategies are
available.
In this study, the participants are from different countries and go to France to have
an exchange program. For them, they have also to figure out that the environment is
196
important to learn a language. They have suggest that the better way to learn a foreign
language are go to the country which speak the target language, try to understand their
culture and explore more and more by using the target language.
From this study, the researcher has found that mobility students tend to be more
active to social strategies and were willing to take challenges. They are also more
independent in a foreign country; they leave their country and go to a country where the
social and environment uses language is so different with their own nation. They have to
challenge themselves to survive in the foreign country.
197
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199
Intercultural Education: The Influence of Social Categories in
Students’ Group Work Interactions.
Sue-Lyn, Ong1
1
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
Recent global tertiary educational trend has witnessed a surge in international student
mobility as well as the growing hegemony of the English language. Such globalization has
inevitably expanded the scope of social interaction between multi-ethnic and multi-lingual
Malaysians and international students from culturally diverse backgrounds. Interaction
becomes crucial when these students are required to work together in group assignments.
This paper foregrounds Intercultural Communication (Gudykunst & Kim 1997; Martin &
Nakayama 2013, 2014; Nair-Venugopal 2003, 2009, 2015) in the investigation on the
influence of the specific social categories of age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion,
mother tongue and English language ability on group work interactions. An interpretive
framework was used to highlighted how these social categories influenced the face-work
(Goffman 1967) and politeness (Brown & Levinson 1987) strategies employed to maintain
rapport in order to achieve successful group work. The study found that in the formation of
self-selected groups, age and English language ability are significantly influential. In faceto-face group work interactions, age, gender, mother tongue, and English language ability
are highly salient and influential during the interactions.
Keywords: intercultural communication, social categories, group work interaction
Biodata: Ong Sue Lyn is an academician at Multimedia University and a PhD candidate in
the field of Language and Intercultural Communication at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
She has over 16 years of teaching experience at tertiary level. Her teaching credits include
courses such as Workplace Communication, Business Communication, Advanced
Management English, English for Business Communication, English for Business Studies
and various English language proficiency courses.
1.0
Introduction
Current educational trend has witnessed Malaysia repositioning itself as one of the “net
exporters of higher education” (Graddol 2006: 80). The globalization of universities
worldwide has also caused a surge in international student mobility as well as the growing
hegemony of the English language (Graddol 2006; House 2010). It is also clear that
intercultural encounters in institutions of higher learning in Malaysia have become more
prominent as universities compete at a global level. Such globalization in tertiary education
has inevitably expanded the scope of social interaction between multi-ethnic Malaysians
200
and international students from culturally diverse backgrounds. With the influx in the
number of international students studying in universities in Malaysia, English language has
become the lingua franca (Jenks 2013; Jenkins 2006) among these students. Very often,
interaction becomes crucial when they are required to work together in group assignments.
During such encounters of diverse cultures and different worldviews, it is common for
stereotypical misconceptions to breed and create misunderstandings. Thus, intercultural
encounters among these students are a crucial aspect of intercultural education.
Face-to-face interaction with peers is a common practice for students doing group
work in university classrooms. For most courses, students are often required to group
themselves to accomplish a group assignment for a project. The researcher found that the
process of forming their own groups to be intriguing. The manner in which social
categories influence the face-to-face interactions, once the group is formed, in order to
achieve successful group work was an interesting natural phenomenon that the researcher
found worth investigating. By interacting with one another, the social categories become
apparent and influence the outcome of the group work as this study seeks to show.
2.0
Background
This paper foregrounds Intercultural Communication (Gudykunst & Kim 1997; Martin &
Nakayama 2013, 2014; Nair-Venugopal 2003, 2009, 2015), henceforth to be known as
‘IC’, in the investigation on the influence of the specific social categories of age, gender,
nationality, ethnicity, religion, mother tongue and English language ability on group work
interactions. IC takes place when individuals from different cultural groups and contexts
negotiate shared meanings in interaction and during such interactions, the social categories,
mainly but not exclusively of nationality, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, and social class
become salient. These social categories (Hogg & Abrams 1988; Jenkins 2008; Tajfel 1981,
1982) are shaped by values, norms, beliefs, and attitudes during intercultural interactions.
Regardless of whether we may or may not be conscious of these social categories, they
influence our communication especially with ‘strangers’ (Harman 1987). Hence, when
students from different cultural backgrounds interact in groups, they are also interacting
with ‘strangers’ that expose them to high degrees of strangeness and relatively low degrees
of familiarity (Gudykunst & Kim 1997) with each other. This increases the risk of
misunderstandings, arguments, and even serious conflict to occur that can affect group
work.
2.1
Group Work
Student’s group work, also commonly referred to as cooperative learning is often
associated with a heterogeneous mix of ability, gender, ethnicity, and other social
categories. As the context of study, group work provides culturally rich encounters for
studying intercultural interactions. In the classroom, group work refers to students forming
a group to work together. Very often, group work is more than just students working on a
task in groups. There may be talk among students which is not even related to the subject
matter. Blatchford et al. (2003: 155) explain that in group work, a teacher may be involved
201
at various stages, but the particular feature of group work is that the balance of ownership
and control of the work shifts toward the students themselves.
Group work contributes towards students’ ability to work together to further
enhance their achievements. However, there is also a need for more research on why
certain types of group work produce negative outcomes despite all the positive studies
recorded. Can these be attributed to the influence of some social categories? The study
seeks to answer this question with the assistance from studies conducted by various
scholars that found influences of social categories in students’ group work.
 Clarke et al. (2007: 202) identified age, gender, ethnicity, education and work
experience, and group composition as affecting individuals’ levels of participation.
 Ituarte & Davies (2007) recorded social categorisation in terms of language, ethnicity,
race, appearance, gender (men and women), and age (younger and more mature) among
students. They concluded that these social boundaries (categorisation) should be
challenged in order to promote pro-social learning among students.
 Esmonde et al. (2009) found that ‘socially constructed identites’ or ‘social identites’ –
including, but not limited to race, ethnic, or gender categories – were often imposed on
people within a particular context. In a classroom setting, these social identities were at
play and influenced students’ opportunities to learn.
 Montgomery (2011), replicating Volet and Ang (1998) found that students preferred
working in groups with their ‘own people’ or of similar cultural backgrounds to
minimise conflicts and misunderstandings. Language was named as an influential
factor in both studies.
Overall, these studies draw attention to social categories that influence group work, and
therefore, contribute to the design of the present study.
2.2
Intercultural Communication (IC)
This section discusses the conceptual framework of IC as an interdisciplinary framework of
analysis for the purpose of examining face-to-face interactions in group work among
undergraduate students in a private tertiary institution in Malaysia. IC is fundamentally
communication between individuals who identify themselves as culturally distinct from
others. For Nair-Venugopal (2015), IC transcends political, geographical, and social
borders and boundaries, because IC is restrained by contextually dependent and relational
situations. These situations includes “the discourse of the minorities within them, whether
defined by localities or by ‘other’ cultures, or sub-fields within the margins of territories,
communities and disciplines, respectively” (Nair-Venugopal 2015: 31). Nair-Venugopal
(2009) calls for a less constrained view of culture by offering a reconceptualised notion of
culture as ‘approximations of social reality’. She proposes an extension to a framework of
analysis for IC (Nair-Venugopal 2003: 23) in suggesting that besides the three key factors –
sociocultural awareness, situational adaptability, and communication accommodation,
other factors and situational variables affect IC too.
This extended framework of analysis for IC essentially dismantles ‘culture’ as the
most dominant factor in IC and provides a theoretical basis for understanding IC as
“situated discourse that avoids a generic cultural stereotyping of difference” (Nair-
202
Venugopal 2003: 26). In other words, culture as the most important determiner in IC
should be revised, so that IC is addressed firstly as a type of communication albeit in
intercultural encounters. She argues that the dismantling of culture as the big C in IC
allows us to move away from a focus on the individual as the ‘cultural other’ to that of the
individual as the ‘social actor’ or ‘stranger’. This perspective thus allows the researcher to
discuss the social identities of individual students in this study as social actors or strangers
interacting in a self-selected groups, in terms of their attitudes as outlook, social
motivations, social priorities and expectations, values and self-construals, differences of
personality and lastly, language in its reality-constructing, intention communicating and
empowering roles.
Martin & Nakayama (2013: 76) propose the dialectical approach to view the
complexities of IC. The dialectical approach is a combination of three traditional
approaches (functionalist or social science, interpretive and critical) and four components
(culture, communication, context and power) to consider in understanding IC. For Martin
& Nakayama (2013: 73), the dialectic approach refers to “a method of logic based on the
principle that an idea generates its opposite, leading to a reconciliation of the opposites
[and] the complex and paradoxical relationship between two opposite qualities or entities”.
In other words, the dialectic approach recognises that things may be ‘both/and’. This is
unlike the dichotomous thinking of ‘either/or’ (good or bad, right or wrong). For example,
‘Kalsom’ may be a Malay, and shares many cultural characteristics of other Malays, but
she also possesses characteristics that are unique. So, she is both similar to and different
from other Malays. This also entails that the dialectic approach emphasises the flexible,
negotiable and paradoxical nature of IC.
It is evident that culture and communication are so intertwined that it is easy to
conceive that culture is communication and communication is culture, after Hall (1959).
The relationship is irrefutable as culture is complex, abstract, and pervasive, and numerous
aspects of culture help to determine communicative behaviour. However, it should be
noted that communication is not ruled solely by cultural influences. The interactions
among ‘new’ students working in groups in this study increase the complexity of the
communication process not only because almost everyone is a ‘stranger’ (Harman 1987) in
the classroom but also because of the influence of factors other than culture alone as
discussed above. By viewing the ‘other’ as a ‘social actor’ (Nair-Venugopal 2009: 77), the
group work interactions among the students in the present study are thus, taken to be
interactions among ‘strangers’ in the classroom.
2.3
Social Categories
Adding on to the complexity of IC is the notion of identities. Widely accepted as a social
construction in social interactions, identities encompass the idea of “becoming” rather than
“being” (Bucholtz & Hall 2005; Hall 1996). Because identity is accomplished when
people speak, Wetherell (1996: 224) believes that “to talk at all is to construct an identity”.
The constructions of identities draw upon the multiple voices of an entire culture. It is
always in production, a continuing process rather than an already accomplished fact.
Identity is partial, flexible, multiple and inconsistent.
203
Social Identity Theory (Tajfel 1981, 1982; Turner 1982, 1996; Hogg & Abrams
1988, 1993), henceforth to be known as ‘SIT’) addresses how we respond when our group
identity becomes salient. For Tajfel (1981: 255), social identity is “that part of an
individual’s self-concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership of a social
group (or groups) together with the value and emotional significance attached to that
membership”. Tajfel’s SIT was developed based on the assumption that all individuals do
‘identity work’ as members of social groups that involve three elements of categorization,
identification, and comparison. First, categorization is employed to understand ‘us’ and
‘others’, in order to understand the social environment. Next, identification refers to
groups that we perceive ourselves to belong to or as unique individuals in varied situations.
Finally, comparison involves the evaluation of ourselves with similar others to gain selfesteem. All these elements relate to conceptualising social identity as a variable dependent
upon positions of individuals in society. In other words, social identity refers to the
individual’s self-concept which derives from his or her knowledge of his or her
membership of social groups together with the value and emotional significance attached to
that membership. As for ‘strangers’ who share a common identity, even with little social
interaction, they could develop a sense of group identity. An individual will tend to
identify him or herself with an in-group and discriminate against another group in order to
enhance his or her self-esteem according to SIT. SIT helps to explain why individuals tend
to construct their identities in terms of in-group or out-group polarities, always reaching
towards positive self-representation and negative other-representation.
Jenkins (2008) believes that social identity is achieved through socialization
within social groups; that social identity involves the understanding of self and others, and
most importantly, it is negotiable. In this study, when students interact with each other,
they do so as individuals with their social identities that are extended as social categories.
They stretch across group memberships that are based on ethnicity, gender, age, religion,
social class, and sexual preference, among other possibilities.
Hogg and Abrams (1988: 14) explain that social categories refers to “the division
of people on the basis of nationality, race, class, occupation, sex, religion and so forth...”.
Social categories are often used to define ourselves or ‘predict’ the behaviours of others.
The study of social identity has been synonymous with the study of social categories, roles
and social locations such as ‘woman’, ‘black’, ‘American’, ‘worker’ (Wetherell 2010: 4).
Social category, in simple terms, refers to social identity. Both are parallel in the sense that
they both refer to individuals distinguished by rules that determine group membership
according to attributes. Social identities such as age, gender, social class, nationality,
ethnicity, religion, sexualities etc. are often presented as social categories, and social
categories are represented as social identities.
3.0
The Study
The study examines group work among local and international undergraduate students
where the complex negotiation of language and social categories is evident in the
interaction process. It aims to find out which of the social categories of age, gender,
nationality, ethnicity, religion, mother tongue, and English language ability that were
identified for study impact on students’ preferences in self-selecting groups. It seeks to
204
find out how these social categories influence, if they do, the face-to-face interactions
among these students during group work.
3.1
Research Questions
The following research questions were posed about the influence of social categories on
intercultural group work interactions among students in a private university in Malaysia:
1. Which of the social categories identified for the study, impact on the formation of selfselected groups?
2. How do these social categories influence interactions during group work?
3.2
Data Collection Methods
The emphasis in this study is on the qualitative component due to the extensive data
collection and analysis conducted. The quantitative component of the study is mainly
descriptive and its purpose is to shed light on the qualitative analysis. First, a questionnaire
was administered to collect data on the impact of the identified social categories in the
formation of self-selected groups. Second, audio-taped recordings of the group work
discussions in the classroom were analysed in order to identify the social categories that
influence interactions during the group work sessions. Besides these data, other types of
data were collected to ensure the validity of the analysis and its interpretation. These
included field-notes made by the researcher during direct participant observations,
participants’ self-reports from post-hoc interviews, and feedback obtained from expert
informants. These multiple methods served to triangulate the data collected for the study.
The questionnaire was administered to the participants to first establish which of
the social categories identified for the study have an impact on the formation of selfselected groups. The participants were asked as to respond to a 5-point Likert-type scale
whether or not they prefer to work with other participants from the same or similar social
categories of age (Q1), sex/gender (Q2), nationality (Q3), ethnicity (Q4), religion (Q5),
mother tongue (Q6), and English language proficiency (Q7). The Statistical Package for
the Social Science (SPSS) was used for its univariate descriptive analysis (Blaikie 2003) to
analyse the preferences for the social categories identified for the study.
Audio-taped recordings were obtained from group work discussions conducted in
the classroom. The data corpus of face-to-face interactions provided the data for the
analysis of the influence of social categories in the interactions of group members. The
audio-taped recordings were listened to countless times. Those sections that were of
particular interest for the study were transcribed (Jenks 2011). The interpretations and
conclusions have also been influenced by the observation of and the researcher’s
interaction with the participants in post-hoc interviews with them.
3.3
Participants
The participants of the study were mostly first year undergraduate students in the Business
School of a private university in Malaysia. All research participants of this study,
205
comprising 47% Malaysians and 53% international students, from a total of 193
participants were non-native speakers of English. They ranged in age from 18 to 34,
comprised 38.3% females and 61.7% males. They were of different nationalities from 27
countries, comprised 22 ethnic groups, and professed different religious backgrounds.
These students spoke 20 languages as mother tongues and possessed different levels of
English language ability. All the participants (N = 193) forming a total of 31 groups were
required to respond to a questionnaire to find out which social categories impact on their
choices in forming groups. For the main study, in order to find out how social categories
influence interactions in group work, 21 data examples were obtained from 15 groups.
These groups were selected based on some evidence of the influence of social categories in
the audio-taped recordings of the group work discussions.
3.4
Findings and Discussion
The findings of the analyses are presented in two sections. In relation to the first research
question, a questionnaire was administered to collect data on the influence of social
categories in self-selected group formation. With an internal consistency reliability of (α =
0.7802) indicating a satisfactory degree, the data gathered was deemed valid for analysis.
Table 1 shows that all social categories were considered to be at least of some importance
by the participants. The participants’ responses on the scale indicated that there was a
fairly high degree of preference for English language ability (M = 3.65, SD = 1.246) and
similar age (M = 3.28, SD = 1.272) in forming self-selected groups. These two can thus be
considered to be the main social categories that impact on the formation of self-selected
groups. However, religion (M = 2.08, SD = 1.165) had the least impact as a social category
in the formation of self-selected groups.
Table 1: Mean and Standard Deviation of the Social Categories
Social Categories
N
Mean
Std. Deviation
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
English language ability
Age
Mother tongue
Ethnicity
Sex (Gender)
Nationality
Religion
193
193
193
193
193
193
193
3.65
3.28
2.65
2.42
2.28
2.26
2.08
1.246
1.272
1.350
1.360
1.289
1.235
1.165
In the second and main part of the analysis, which relates to the second research
question, qualitative interactions in which social categories are salient are analysed using
Goffman’s (1967) Face-work Strategies; and Brown and Levinson’s (1987) Politeness
Strategies to understand how students managed the communicative demands of group work
to achieve effective group work outcomes through their interactions. The data examples
below will illustrate the influence of the following social categories of age, sex/gender,
nationality, ethnicity, religion, mother tongue and English language ability on the
interactions of the participants.
206
3.4.1
Age
Indirect age disclosure is evident in the interactive episode below.
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
Behzad : f-y-p (.) final year project
Hasan : final year project oh (4.0) how long have you been here (1.0) how long
have you been here
Behzad : what do you mean
Hasan : how long have you been (.) malaysia=
Behzad : =h:::a oh (2.0) er (.) right now (.) four and a half years (4.0) four and a
half freaking years
Hasan : [((laughter))
In the interactive episode above, Behzad, a 26-year-old Iranian male, does most of
the talking in the interaction above by assuming that he is the most senior male member in
the group. By offering the information that he is in his final year project in line 48, Behzad
indirectly discloses his approximate age. This allows Hasan, a 22-year-old male from
Saudi Arabia, to guess Behzad’s age without having to ask him directly for it. Behzad’s
self-admission in lines 53-54 that he had been in Malaysia for “...four and a half freaking
years” helps Hasan to infer that Behzad belongs to an older age category compared to the
others. In this interaction, humour arguably helps alleviate the face threat of disclosing age
on the one hand, and enquiring about the other’s age, on the other. By using the expletive
“freaking” in line 54, Behzad is making an attempt to foster solidarity. Thus, using
expletives as a lexical choice is also another strategy which speakers use to manage rapport
(Daly et al. 2003). The laughter from members of the group indicates a shared
understanding that fosters rapport.
3.4.2
Gender
The members of the group are discussing the distribution of tasks for their project when
one group member declares he is being given a task that he has difficulty with.
324
325
326
327
328
329
330
331
332
Azline : you go back (.) search for the teenagers only
Khaled : ok what about (.) what i would like to say is er i have really little
experiences er with girls (.) i don’t know girls (.) so that=
Pavit
: =you go find for girls (.) i mean you go find information for girls
Khaled : [no no no
Azline : [go find information for teenagers (.) ok
Pavit
: ok you know (.) what what you want to say
Khaled : e:::r i didn’t know a girl (.) i didn’t er have a friend (.) girlfriend (.)
what i wanted to say is er [i have really little experience with
In this data example, the interaction begins with Azline, a 21-year-old Malay
Malaysian female asking Khaled, a 19-year-old male from Yamen to search for
information on teenagers. More specifically, Pavit, a 20-year-old Indian Malaysian female
207
asks Khaled to look for information on girls (line 327). Thus, Khaled is given the task of
gathering information on teenage girls for their group assignment. It is obvious that Khaled
is not comfortable in carrying out such a task. He protests in line 328 “[no no no”, but it
overlaps with Azline’s utterances in lines 328. His reluctance is clear. Khaled uses the
speaker-oriented pragmatic hedges “…what i would like to say is…” (line 325) and
“…what i wanted to say is…” (line 332) to hedge his disagreement with the female
members in his group while reframing the reason he could not do the task. Khaled says
that he has had little experience with girls (lines 325-326). He neither knows any girl nor
has a girl friend (line 331). An interesting observation is that the female participants are
more aggressive than the male participant, Khaled. They use a direct, assertive and
unmitigated style, as in line 324 “go back search”, line 327 “go find”, and line 329 “go find
information”. Ordering Khaled to look for information about what girls want and need in
line 324 appears to be embarrassing for him as he protests in line 325. Being given direct
orders by Pavit and Azline, both females, is face threatening for Khaled. Khaled’s positive
face-want is being ignored. Even though face and equity rights (Spencer-Oatey 2008) were
violated in this group, Khaled’s use of the avoidance strategy managed to maintain rapport
work. Khaled’s gender was enacted in this episode by offering reasons why he should not
be given such a task, and most importantly that as a Muslim male he knew nothing about
girls as he didn’t interact with them. Thus, it is clear that gender (as well as religion)
influenced interactions in this interactive episode.
3.4.3
Nationality
Explicit exchanges about nationality are evident in this interactive episode on food and
national identity. Food is often used as identity markings in constructing national identities
(Lim & Gomes 2009; Nair-Venugopal 2009; Poulain 2012).
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
Seyed
Ana
Seyed
Shara
Seyed
Shara
Ana
: what about you (.) yeah (.) malaysia
: [hm malaysia (.) ((laughter))
: [no healthy food (.) in the morning (.) er eats [rice (.) and ((laughter))
:
[nasi lemak roti canai
: ((laughter)) roti canai and then
: you know in malaysia we have different cultures right (.) so basically
we have different types of food (.) we have the=
: =chinese food malay food (.) indian
The group members want to create a healthy food magazine. Seyed, a 21-year-old
male from Bahrain, thinks that food in Malaysia is unhealthy, as in line 58: “[no healthy
food (.) in the morning (.) er eats [rice (.) and…”. Although this is considered a potential
face-threatening situation, the laughter that accompanies his utterance redresses the
potential face threat. Such an utterance can affect communicative equilibrium (Goffman
1967) because face could have been threatened. However, laughing in this situation
informs the group members that he meant it as a joke.
Apart from functioning as
entertainment, humour is used to maintain a feeling of solidarity (Ladegaard 2009; Schnurr
& Chan 2010). What has happened here is that Seyed employs a “defense orientation
toward saving his own face and a protective orientation toward saving other’s face”
(Goffman 1967:14). Thus, rapport work is maintained. It is also noteworthy that from
208
lines 61 to line 63, Shara, a 19-year-old Malay female, and Ana, a 24-year-old Indian
female, argue, as Malaysians, that not all Malaysian food is unhealthy. Because
communicative equilibrium appears to be affected in line 58, both of them also operate on
Goffman’s (1967) face-work rituals of defending faces that have been challenged. In line
63, Ana draws attention to the different types of food in Malaysia according to ethnic
groups. To maintain a positive impression of Malaysian identity through food, Shara and
Ana attempt to correct the negative impression others may have about Malaysian food.
3.4.4
Ethnicity
The group members are deciding on what type of magazine to create for their project when
Leila starts to deviate by showing interest in Lim’s ethnicity.
231
232
233
234
235
236
237
238
239
240
241
Leila
Sajad
Leila
Sajad
Leila
Lim
Leila
Sajad
Lim
: oh oh oh you are (.) er er malay chinese (.) yes? you are two countries
or no (.) one only (1.0)
: no they are malaysian but speaks chinese speaks chinese also
: yeah? (1.0) oh (.) because in malaysia itself (.) er some people er you
know is chinese but living here and there=
: =may be mother is chinese (.) father is=
: =mixed
: me (.) er i’m one of the (2.0) er [pretty unique (.) ok
:
[((laughter))
:
[((laughter))
: i’m er pretty mixed (.) but e:::r not chinese educated
Ethnicity is the topic of discussion in the interaction. In line 231-232, Leila, a 22year-old female from Iran, wants to know if May and Lim have dual citizenships of
Malaysia and China. Both May, a 20-year-old Chinese female, and Lim, a 21-year-old
Chinese male are from Malaysia. It is clear that Leila is confused about May’s and Lim’s
ethnic identity. Sajad, a 22-year-old male from Iran, attempts to explain in line 233, that
both Lim and May are Malaysians but they speak Chinese too. However, Leila is still not
convinced and starts probing further by suggesting that some people have dual nationality.
Sajad suggests in line 233 that they are perhaps of mixed ethnicity. Lim’s response in line
238, seems to confuse Leila even further. Lim explains that his ethnicity is a unique
circumstance, at which point, Leila and Sajad laugh together in line 239-240. Lim then
proceeds to say in line 241 that he is “pretty mixed”, because he is not educated in Chinese.
The concept of being Chinese in Malaysia appears to be difficult for Leila and Sajad to
grasp. In most countries, ethnicity and nationality are closely intertwined. Jenkins (2008:
148) confirms that ‘nation’ and ‘nationality’ are, “respectively, varieties of ethnic
collectivity and ethnicity, and are likely to be historically contingent, context-derived, and
defined and redefined in negotiation and transaction”. In plural Malaysia, one can be
Chinese and Malaysian. Lim defines his ethnic identity in terms of the language he uses
but declares that he is ‘unique’ because he is not Chinese educated. The influence of
ethnicity is evident in this episode. There is a direct reference to ethnic identity which is
negotiated by the participants.
209
3.4.5
Religion
The group members are discussing possible types of magazine for their project when Olan
brings up the topic on ‘halal’ food.
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
229
230
231
232
Olan
: i’m not a muslim but i eat halal food anyway ok yeah
Ramez : yeah
Olan
: ok yeah and you know there’s this chinese restaurant that sells
halal (1.0) they don’t se:::ll i mean halal chinese you know (1.0)
have you been there
Eva
: no i never but i
Olan
: been there yeah i mean it’s a good place to go because they don’t
sell anything [like pork or anything so we ca:::n
Ramez :
[yeah
Eva
: ok i have another [id:::ea why don’t we
Olan
:
[THERE’s (1.0) THERE’S another each we
In his attempt to persuade the group members to agree with his suggestion on
food, Olan a 28-year-old male from Nigeria, brings up the topic of ‘halal’ food. Olan
discloses that although he is a non-Muslim, he eats ‘halal’ food, in line 222. He then
proceeds to talk about a Chinese restaurant that does not serve pork in line 228-229. By
giving group members such information to indicate his knowledge of the Muslim
community, Olan operates on the desire for the Muslims in the group to perceive him
positively by reducing social distance which achieves a ‘positive social value’ in
Goffman’s terms or fosters ‘solidarity’ in Brown & Levinson’s terms. However, topics
like Chinese food, ‘halal’ and ‘pork’ do not seem to interest Eva. They do not seem to
interest the other group members either. Only Ramez responds with the occasional “yeah”
(line 223) and “yeah” (line 230) before Eva stops Olan in line 231. After listening to
Olan’s lengthy explanation about his idea (lines 224-228 and lines 228-229), Eva interrupts
Olan in line 231. However, Olan refuses to be intercepted. He raises his voice as in
“[THERE’s (1.0) THERE’S another…” in line 232. Both may seem to threaten each
other’s face, but face is quickly redressed by Olan who allows Eva to put forward her idea,
Olan is actually trying to achieve communicative equilibrium or balance (Goffman 1967).
Olan’s withdrawal before an anticipated threat to his face, can be seen as an avoidance
process (Goffman 1967). It is a defensive strategy to avoid situations that can lead to
embarrassment. Thus, rapport is achieved by managing face for effective group work.
3.4.6
Mother tongue
In this interactive episode, two participants are talking to each other in their own mother
tongue which signals in-group and out-group behaviour. Two members of the group,
Athira and Nur, are apprehensive that they have not contributed to the work which has
already been completed by the group leader.
56
57
Athira
Nima
: =write your email
: n-i-m-a
210
58
Athira
59
Nur
60
Athira
61
Reza
: ((speaks in Malay)) dah siap rupa nya
{looks like it has been completed}
: ((speaks in Malay)) ha:::h (.) entah apa apa yang di buat nya
{ha:::h wonder what he had done with it}
: ((speaks in Malay)) ha tuh lah
{ha that’s the issue}
: we should talk next wednesday yeah?
In this interaction, Athira, a 19-year-old Malaysian female told Nima a 29-yearold Iranian male to write down his email address (line 56). In lines 58-60, Athira speaks to
Nur in Malay. By opting to speak to each other in Malay, both Athira and Nur who are
Malay Malaysians, operate on the distinctive social category of being speakers of the same
mother tongue. It has been well documented that code-switching is a form of language
practice where two or more linguistic resources are employed in various combinations to
achieve interactional purposes and at the same time convey various aspects of identity
(Auer 2005). In this short dialogue (lines 58-60), Athira and Nur are both using Malay that
can influence rapport work among the Malaysian group members. Two social categories,
namely nationality and ethnicity, can be indexed by switching linguistic resources. For
example, in this exchange, social exclusion and inclusion occurs when the girls codeswitch. The girls perceive themselves as ‘we’, the ‘in-group’, and as ‘Malay Malaysians’ as
opposed to the boys, whom they perceive as ‘they’, the ‘out-group’, and ‘Iranians’. This
process of social comparison naturally influences interaction. Despite exhibiting in-group
and out-group behaviour, rapport work is still maintained for the sake of the interactional
goal. They all have the same aim of completing the group assignment in mind. This
episode shows that the participants’ mother tongue influenced the interactions. Athira and
Nur could have openly confronted Nima and Reza on the issue of group work
contributions. So they employed code-switching to express themselves in desired ways
and to prevent negative perceptions of themselves by the Iranians. Code-switching was
used as a neutralizing strategy to create instances of positive rapport in face-threatening
situations (Gumperz 1982). In this episode, code-switching was used strategically to create
indirectness when face is at risk.
3.4.7
English language ability
The participants have difficulty interacting in English in this interactive episode. It leads to
arguments and misunderstanding among the group members. The group members are
meeting up to finalise their project and Melody is told about the mistake in her work.
29
30
31
32
33
34
Nabil
Melody
Nabil
Inhong
Melody
Inhong
: stop speaking iranian=
: =ok
: it’s not english
: so what i want [is like this one
:
[you know you speak like this (1.0) how to give it
: melody plea:::se (.) please
In the interaction above, face threatening acts occur when Nabil, a 22-year-old
male from Egypt, told Melody, a 19-year-old female from Iran, in line 29, to “stop
211
speaking iranian”; that “it’s not english” in line 31. Such utterances expressed in a bald onrecord manner, can be considered highly face-threatening to Melody as a command instead
of a polite request. Inhong, a 23-year-old Korean male, makes an attempt to explain what
is required of Melody as in line 32: “so what i want is like this one”. Melody retorted by
saying: “you know you speak like this (1.0) how to give it”. She argues that she is not able
to complete her task the way Inhong wants it to be done because he speaks English poorly.
In the post-hoc interview self-report, Melody claimed that she had difficulty understanding
Inhong’s instructions because of his lack of English proficiency. What Melody means by
“…speak like this” in line 33 is Inhong speaking English poorly and giving her confusing
work instructions. However, accusing someone of poor language skills may be a facethreatening situation. As a non-proficient speaker of English language, Inhong’s positive
face-want was clearly threatened. Melody may also be excusing the mistake in her work.
Unlike Nabil who uses a bald on-record output strategy (line 29) to directly criticize
Melody, Inhong tries to work towards maintaining a harmonious relationship with Melody.
He patiently attempts to re-explain to Melody, with his limited English language ability,
what her actual task is. He even pleads for Melody to try to understand the situation, as in
line 34: “melody plea:::se (.) please”. The elongated prosodic feature of the first ‘please’
and the stressed, raised pitch in the second, indicates that Inhong is frustrated but desperate
to maintain rapport. Despite the face-threatening utterance in lines 29 and 33, they did not
cause any conflict among the group members. By ignoring the face-threatening acts, the
group maintained rapport work with the “avoidance strategy” (Cupach & Metts 1994;
Goffman 1967). The group was still able to work together by ignoring the face-threatening
situations and focusing on the ultimate interactional goal of finishing the assignment. This
episode demonstrates the influence of English language ability in interactions.
Finally, to sum up the findings, participants identified age and English language
ability as social categories that had the most impact on their choices in forming selfselected groups. In the analysis of face-to-face interactions, the researcher found that all
the social categories identified for study (age, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion,
mother tongue and English language ability) influenced rapport work in varying degrees in
the intercultural interactions. However, the participants of the study did not seem to be
aware of the influence of these social categories in their group interactions.
4.0
Conclusion
Considering the in-flux of international students in Malaysian universities since 2000,
intercultural interactions between local Malaysian students and their international
counterparts is inevitable. This study confirms that social identities which are extended as
social categories are fluid and carry the notion of multiplicity as a process that is complex
and discursive. Individuals can make a particular social category or multiple social
categories salient at different times and influence interactions. The study has underscored
not only the influence, but also the importance of social categories on social interactions.
Who we are influences what and how we interact with each other.
212
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215
KL Noir Series: Reading The Urban Life Of Malaysian
Society
(A Sociology Of Literature Study Of KL Noir Series: KL Noir
Red, KL Noir White, KL Noir Blue And KL Noir Yellow)
Ririn Kurnia Trisnawati
English Department, Jenderal Soedirman University, Indonesia,
[email protected]
Abstract
The notion of Southeast Asian Literature in English has driven certain interests for
Southeast Asian writers to produce various genres of literature. Among them is the birth of
noir fictions around Southeast Asian countries. One of noir fictions is written and published
in Malaysia. They are KL Noir Red, KL Noir White, KL Noir Blue, and KL Noir Yellow.
Noir as a genre is able to provide an illustration of a city’s dark side. What lies underneath
the urban city is told differently by describing the city lurk tales e.g. murder, celebrity
secrets, corruption, politics, satires, and many other stories that people may find it hard to
believe. This study is a reading of four noirs published in Malaysia. Each Noir consists of
some short stories. Indeed, each noir presents the dark side of the city along with the vivid
description of how its alienated citizens have interacted one another and of how the
contemporary issues of the urban life shockingly happens. Therefore, this paper is written
based on the data gathered by applying the literary criticism, particularly by applying
sociology of literature. Those four KL noirs are scrutinized to relate the depiction of the
urban life of Malaysian society, particularly in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian society being
depicted in the novel is seen as mirror of Malaysian society in the reality. This paper is
going to argue how far depiction in the noirs can really reflect what is happening in
Malaysian society, represented in Kuala Lumpur.
Keywords: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Noir fiction, Sociology of Literature
Biodata: Ririn Kurnia Trisnawati, M.A. is a lecturer at English Literature Department,
Humanities Faculty of Jenderal Soedirman University in Indonesia. She is interested in
conducting researches on English literature, and Southeast Asian Literature in English has
become her recent interest as this issues is considered important in the discussion of literary
studies.
1. 1
Introduction
As English language is spoken by more people in the world, more people are also
composing literature in English. This is also happening in the neighbourhood of Southeast
Asian countries. Meanwhile, the notion of Southeast Asian Literature in English has driven
certain interests for Southeast Asian writers to produce various genres of literature. Among
216
them is the birth of noir fictions around Southeast Asian countries. More writers in
Southeast Asian countries have produced and published this particular genre. As it is
previously reported by Trisnawati (2014) in her previous study, there are at least some
noirs published around 2010-2014 such as KL Noir—consisting of KL Noir Red, KL Noir
White, KL Noir Blue, KL Noir Yellow—Singapore Noir, and Manila Noir. It leads to the
upcoming interest of more people to write literary works in English and to write Noir
Fiction in particular in the area of Southeast Asian countries.
Noir fiction in Southeast Asian countries is presented ‘differently’. This makes
them more impressive. The difference is on the name of the city being included as the title.
Generally, noir fiction is described by Norren Ayres in DeMarco-Barret cited from The
Writer in www.WriterMag.com as either “simple detection or active suspense”. Further, it
is also illustrated that noir’s main ingredients are sex, greed, and murder. Characters in noir
are on a path to doom and destruction, motivated by their narcissistic personality quirks.
The protagonist is alienated, lacking a moral centre and an unhappy ending. The former
means the protagonist is someone who is on the edge of moral breakdown or even those
who have completed it even though his or her actions may be understandable. These basic
elements of noir fiction can also be found in those noir fictions published in Southeast
Asian countries, yet the name of the city is sort of a new trend. Therefore, that what makes
the discussion of noir fiction in Southeast Asian countries is even more interesting.
One noir fiction series is written and published in Malaysia. They are KL Noir
Red, KL Noir White, KL Noir Blue, and KL Noir Yellow. This series of Noir fiction is
selected to be studied and to be connected with the depiction of Kuala Lumpur as urban
city and its citizens. Noir as a genre is able to provide an illustration of a city’s dark side.
What lies underneath the metropolis city is told differently by describing the city lurk tales
e.g. murder, celebrity secrets, corruption, politics, satires, and many other stories that
people may find it hard to believe. Therefore, studying these KL Noir fictions, the writer
has also expected to be able to present the depiction of Kuala Lumpur’s dark side and its
inhabitants’ alienated stories of life, lacking of moral centre and unhappy ending. Kuala
Lumpur as a setting of society within the noir fiction is going to be related to the study of
sociology of literature whereas the situation of the inhabitants of Kuala Lumpur is
described using the characteristics of noir fiction. Eventually, both can reveal the depiction
of urban life in Kuala Lumpur through the noir fictions as it is exercised by the study of
sociology of literature. To sum up, this paper is going to argue that those KL Noir fictions
under the study may reflect and depict such situations of alienated inhabitants of Kuala
Lumpur and to see also the depiction of Kuala Lumpur as urban city seen from its dark
sides.
1. 2
Research Method
This paper is written based on a literary study conducted by employing the sociology of
literature and the noir study. Since this is a qualitative-descriptive analytic study, the data
are taken from the novels under the study in form of words, utterance and dialogues found
in those noir fictions. Data analysis is done by coding what are found in the noir fictions
and then triangulated with the theories employed in this study. Consequently, the study
217
may answer its research objective namely to depict the situation of Kuala Lumpur as urban
city and its inhabitants as it is reflected on those noir fictions e.g. KL Noir Red, KL Noir
White, KL Noir Blue, KL Noir Yellow.
2.1
Noir Fiction and KL Noir Series
Noir, which originally means dark, appeared in 1920s as a reaction to the cozy mysteries
then popular. Next, in 1940s, film noir emerged and in the 1950s noir fiction saw its
heyday. DeMarco-Barret in www.WriterMag.com illustrates that the appearance of noir
died down, yet now it is able to re-gain its popularity due in part to online publishing
venues. The fame of noir fiction nowadays is so much helped by the existence e-books,
websites, etc., and so is the publication of KL Noir Series. Meanwhile, the noir fictions
under the study are KL Noir Red, KL Noir White, KL Noir Blue, KL Noir Yellow. All of
them were published by Fixi Novo starting from 2013 until 2014. Those noir fictions are
also contributed by some authors from various backgrounds of nationality and occupation.
It is written in the introduction page that the publishing company has been inviting
contributors to write other noir fictions and get them published. What is done here shows
how the popularity of noir fiction is re-grown in Malaysia, and Fixi Novi has successfully
made noir fictions regain its popularity. In addition, the KL Noir has managed to be
published in four editions namely KL Noir Red, KL Noir White, KL Noir Blue, KL Noir
Yellow.
Furthermore, DeMarco-Barrett describes noir fictions like all other good fictions.
Noir incorporates fictional techniques including metaphor, simile and narrative, just like
what other fiction is. However, noir is noticeable and important due to its dialogue and
plot. It is stated that in noir, dialogue is terse and snappy, and it is vital for moving the story
along. For setting, the well-chosen word or phrase does much to paint a scene and creates a
mood. The best noir writers make readers feel the sun's heat, smell the beer-washed bar,
and see the dark, musty basement. Further illustration is given by Susan Straight, whose
noir story "The Golden Gopher" won an Edgar Award. She says, "What I love about noir is
how the plot moves things along, allowing the author to examine a society or landscape or
family in ways that stay vitally adhered to the plot.” Thus, these criteria of being noir are
designed to fulfil the nuance of dark, sharp, and alienated representing either characters,
plot or other elements in fiction.
The fact that noir fiction can also be used for examining society is very
interesting. Writing noir fiction, authors are examining the society and presenting the result
so that readers can read and examine it, too. Readers may learn other sides of living from
the vivid, sharp and dark illustration of the protagonists who are living in that particular
society about the moral breakdown undergone by the people. Sex, murder, and moral
breakdown are commonly shown in noir fictions. Readers are able to learn many things
from the stories. Thus, it does include when KL Noir series is read by the readers.
Since KL Noir series is a noir fiction, it does share the similar qualities of being a
noir fiction. The compilation of the short stories presents to the readers the murder, drugdealing, suicides in KL Noir Red, the murder, suicide, black magic, robbers in KL Noir
218
Blue, murder, drugs, corruption, politics in KL Noir White and paedophiles and perverts,
and murder in KL Noir Yellow as well as some other topics revealing other moral
breakdown. In addition, these noir fictions have specifically highlighted Kuala Lumpur as
the setting of those moral breakdown happenings which are not told by other noir fictions.
It seems that this KL Noir Series intends to show something else from the urban city, Kuala
Lumpur. Therefore, studying these KL Noir fictions may bring and connect the Malaysian
society and its citizens into the other (dark) sides of Kuala Lumpur as an urban city.
The KL Noir series under the study consists of KL Noir Red, KL Noir White, KL
Noir Blue, KL Noir Yellow. Each book is compiled by some short stories. KL Noir Red
consists of 14 stories, KL Noir White has 18 stories within, KL Noir Blue has featured 15
stories, and KL Noir Yellow 15 short stories. Those short stories tell various stories of
murder, rape, robbers, suicide, and some other themes ranging from one criminal scene to
other moral breakdown scenes. In addition, Kuala Lumpur and some parts of this urban city
landmarks are framed as the essential setting of place. Kuala Lumpur along with its megamall, KL Sentral, some dark city-corners, and some other locations are witnessing the
crime and even the location does trigger the moral breakdown to happen.
2.2 KL Noir Series and Sociology of Literature
This study is a reading of four noirs published in Malaysia namely KL Noir Series
consisting of four volumes e.g. KL Noir Red, KL Noir White, KL Noir Blue, KL Noir
Yellow. Each Noir consists of some short stories. Indeed, each noir presents the dark side of
Kuala Lumpur along with the vivid description of the alienated protagonists in those noirs
who are the citizens of Kuala Lumpur. Under the study of sociology of literature, those
four volumes of KL Noir series are seen as the reflection or the mirror of the Kuala
Lumpur society. This is in line with that has been argued by Nooy in Scram & Steen (2001)
mentioning that the sociology of literature in particular has focused on the relation between
society and literature, usually employing the metaphor that literature mirrors society.
However, instead of considering the society as a whole, Nooy has proposed that
the mirror starts on social behaviour at the individual level first. It means that the stories
that people tell about themselves, their social relations and behaviour are closely related,
Nooy in Scram & Steen (2001: 359). Also, Nooy has proposed to believe that the link
between stories and larger social formation is involved. People derive structural models for
the stories of their lives as well as scripts for social action. This explains why narrative
structure resembles group structures; consequently it opens new perspectives on the
analysis of narrative structure as well as the significance of stories to the social behaviour.
To this extend, KL Noir series is placed as the narrative structure resembling the stories of
the group structures namely society of Kuala Lumpur.
Furthermore, borrowing Harrison C White’s theory saying about the importance
of stories as elements that structure social reality and the fact that art is an important source
of stories that people use to model their own stories, that is, their identities, Nooy is
inviting the scholars of literature to point out the meaning of story. For scholars of
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literature, the study of stories is not just referring to the narrative texts; stories can be
stories which are meant to relate to people and events in the empirical world. By proposing
this, Nooy has been trying to stress that he is not delineating literature from non-literary
texts, yet, on the contrary, Nooy is proposing that all texts must be put on a par and those
stories are studied as social facts or social models, Nooy in Scram & Steen (2001: 364). In
relation to the study of KL Noir series, by employing what is proposed by Nooy, this study
is going to reveal what is told on those four volumes as the parts of the social facts and
social models of Kuala Lumpur society. It means by doing so people are able to see that
what is being told on those noir volumes to some extend reflect and represent the social life
of Kuala Lumpur and its inhabitants.
To sum up, believing what is depicted in those KL Noir series as the social facts
and social models of the reality, eventually it could sharpen the function of arts—literature,
namely such stories may help control social relations within a specific social setting and
provide practice in handling social relations e.g. social relation in Kuala Lumpur. Helping
control the social relations is done if readers try to check whether the story is against facts
or not in the empirical world whereas providing practice in handling social relations works
when readers or people treat the story as the reality, just like they believe it is happening. In
this case, this study will apply the latter function where those KL Noir series are treated as
the reality which represent the social behaviour at the individual level from the inhabitants
of Kuala Lumpur, the urban city.
3.1
Depiction of the Urban Life: KL Noir Series and the Alienated
Protagonists
This is the part where KL Noir series is examined to show the depiction of those alienated
protagonists as it is usually found in noir fictions; in addition, those alienated protagonists
are the characters who happen to be Kuala Lumpur’s inhabitants. Eventually, it leads into
the discussion of how the residents of Kuala Lumpur are illustrated as alienated
protagonists in these four volumes of KL Noirs. Due to length limitation, the finding of this
study is only based on one or two short stories taken from each volume of KL Noir series
although there are more short stories portraying the alienated protagonists of Kuala
Lumpur’s inhabitants found in those KL Noirs.
The first is taken from KL Noir Red, Preeta Samarasan’s “Rukun Tetangga”
situates Guna Uncle as the protagonist who usually go jogging in the Mid Valley
Megamall. It is not a common decision to go a mall-jogging, yet he has his own reasons
such as it is safer than anywhere else since people will not get robbed in a shopping centre,
it is properly air-conditioned, it is free, people can easily grab drinks when they are thirsty,
and lastly a mall-jogging will not make people get lost in their way, (2013:41-42). It seems
they are all nice reasons, yet until what is Guna Uncle going to see for real in that particular
mall. Starting his mall-jogging using the LRT, Guna Uncle begins to see unexpected things
happening. He saw a snatch thief knocked an old lady down and took off her purse, and he
started questioning himself when each passenger has sudden problems who would give
them help. He keeps questioning himself since nobody cares, nobody these days want to
get involved in other people’s business. Guna Uncle experiences more unexpected situation
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as he enters the megamall. Situations are unexpected and lead to his conclusion that people
are getting more individualists even since their childhood. The most horrible thing happens
when Guna Uncle is sort out of help when he is struggling with his energy to go home. He
feels he is alone as nobody helps when he is too tired to walk. It is too late to realize that
the cosiness of the megamall is even the worse thing since it is the place of the lined-up
faces of strangers, the rush and clamour of a whole mall of strangers, a whole boiling city
of strangers, (2013:56)
The second short story is taken from the second KL Noir Yellow is entitled
“Happy Family” by Claudia Skyler Foong. Noir fiction may present the irony of life since
it deals with murder and the dark sides of human beings, and so does this short story. The
family is a re-marriage family when everything seems to be fine, yet their children grow
hatred one another. Murder never considers ages. Young people may become the victims,
and vice versa. Young people may become the murderer, too. This point is here. Noir
fictions present such protagonists in the stories. Jason who lives in silence to tell the truth
that he does not like her mother to re-marry and they stay in their new family house, at the
end, has committed the murder. He is alienated by his being unhappy and finally drown by
his silence and brave to murder his step-father. To this extend, the situation has dragged the
alienated protagonist to perform crime and even worsens his situation.
3.2
Depiction of the Urban Life: KL Noir Series and the Moral
Breakdown
Noir fiction is so closely related to the issue of sex, murder, and the issues of moral
breakdown in general. Meanwhile, those issues are also found in this particular KL Noir
series under the study. The beginning of those noir fictions even it is clearly stated that this
particular reading deals with such issues. Among those issues are murder, drug-dealing,
suicides found in KL Noir Red, the murder, suicide, black magic, robbers in KL Noir Blue,
murder, drugs, corruption, politics in KL Noir White and paedophiles and perverts, and
murder in KL Noir Yellow as well as some other topics revealing other moral breakdown.
Therefore, this section will highlight those moral breakdown issues depicted in the four
volumes of the KL Noirs series. At last, by discussing the depiction of the moral
breakdown found in those KL Noir series, this paper will also depict the social reality of
Kuala Lumpur as it is exercising the theory of sociology of literature discussed earlier.
The first short story to discuss is taken from KL Noir Red is Adib Zaini’s “The
Runner”. The nuance of noir fiction is strongly depicted here. The character is a 15-yearold Moslem girl who becomes a drug-dealer because of life condition. Being a drug-dealer
is a kind of trap for her. When she was having a part-timer, she was trapped into that illegal
business. Being trapped, she whose name is even not mentioned was continuing harder life
as she was also involved in an almost murder case. She left her victim and she started to
run away. This is how the story ends. The moral breakdown looks very strong since her
family background is told to be a religious family. Her father is the imam of local mosque
in Ampang. Therefore, the situation is just like she was undergoing life which is hard for
her family to accept and life which is mentally and religiously destroying her morality.
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This kind of moral breakdown happens in many settings of place e.g. city, urban, etc.
including in Kuala Lumpur.
The second series to highlight is the KL Noir Yellow. This is the finale volume of
the series. That the residents of Kuala Lumpur are sick in the head, and they twist morality
and stretch reality to rationalize their sickness is clearly depicted in this volume. Natasha
Gideon’s Victims of Society is one short story taken to illustrate the moral breakdown
happens to the protagonist. It is when Harris, the character and a Malay, is told to be a
citizen of Kuala Lumpur who enjoys his being separated with the society. He enjoys being
alone though he acknowledges that being separated from the society is not something
beneficial. The sickness of the society is expressed within the story. Harris acknowledges
that everything needs connection, networking and which CEO people need to sleep to ease
everything. It is the use of people’s genitals, (2014:271). It sounds so extreme, yet it is
happening in the society. Harris who is from Moslem family background seems to be living
in such hypocrisy of being a religion embracer. His morality is damaged. When his parents
always reminds him to do more prayers when he feels that he is in trouble, instead of doing
that, he curses his life by committing more free-sex and stuff. Ampang is re-mentioned in
this short story. Ampang seems to be a nice place of every inhabitant of Kuala Lumpur.
Harris thinks living in Ampang makes him more elite as a lawyer, (2014:272).
As the story goes, Harris shows a ‘perfect’ character of a noir fiction protagonist.
His morality is severely broken. He acknowledges that he is Malay and Moslem, yet he
enjoys doing sinful deed such as committing free-sex and being a paedophile. The worse
thing is he seems so innocent and rightful in doing those crimes. He always remembers
what his parents have told him to do as a good Moslem, yet he committed murder, and he
thinks that it does not seem wrong. “Why was I punished for something that felt natural to
me?” (2014:279).
Thus far, those short stories taken from the KL Noir series above have shown the
severe moral breakdown shown by the protagonists of the noir fictions. It is happening in
Kuala Lumpur as an urban city. These moral breakdown deeds are shown and told in the
story to illustrate how the urban city runs its citizens’ lives. The depiction of such moral
breakdown happening in Kuala Lumpur found in the KL Noir series is considered as the
reflection or the social moral of Kuala Lumpur’s inhabitants as it is proposed by Nooy. The
fact that those stories emerge in the world of arts—literature is highly appreciated as it can
remind the society that such things are happening. Lastly, it also remarks the function of
arts as the control of the society. When people are not sure that things like this happens,
they can check and study the empirical society whereas when they believe things like this
is happening for real, they should be thinking that the world of arts is indeed the reality.
4.0 Conclusion
What has been explained above is not sufficient, of course due to the limitation of paper
length, yet it has tried to show how KL Noir series is clear enough to depict its special
features as noir fictions e.g. the issues of murder, drug dealing, and other mental
breakdown issues and also the issues of the alienated protagonists. Meanwhile, since it is
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KL Noir series, it also manages to depict the situation of the social breakdown undergone
by the inhabitants of Kuala Lumpur. Finally, noir fiction as the arts may function as the
control of the society, the Kuala Lumpur society. When people are not sure that things like
this happens, they can check and study the empirical society whereas when they believe
things like this is happening for real, they should be thinking that the world of arts is indeed
the reality.
223
References
Barry, Peter. (2002). Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Culler, J. (1997). Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University
Press.
DeMarco-Barrett, Barbara. Noir: The Dark Side. WriterMag.com
Fanning, Christopher Michael. (2011). Mediating the Classes in Noir Fiction: Hierarchies
in American Noir, Detective, and Crime Texts. San Diego State University, unpublished
thesis.
Hafizi, Amir (editor). (2013). KL Noir: White. Petaling Jaya: Buku Fixi.
Lee, Eeleen (editor). (2014). KL Noir: Blue. Petaling Jaya: Buku Fixi.
Little, Graham. (1963). Approach to Literature. Sydney: Science Press
Muhammad, Amir (editor). (2013). KL Noir: Red. Petaling Jaya: Buku Fixi, 2013.
Naremore, James. “American Film Noir: The History of an Idea”. Film Quarterly, Vol. 49,
No. 2. (Winter, 1995-1996), pp. 12-28.
Schram, Dick H & Steen, Gerard (ed). The Psychology and Sociology of Literature.
(2001). Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company
Webster, R. (1990). Studying Literary Theory. New York: St Martin's Press Inc.
Williamson, Lee (editor). (2014). KL Noir: Yellow. Petaling Jaya: Buku Fixi.
224
Language, An Instrument For Telling The Truth Or
Deviating From It
Mohammad Reza Mohseni
Islamic Azad University, Arak branch, Iran. [email protected]
Abstract
Although language is a means of communicating and telling the truth, sometimes it works
in reverse and becomes a means to divert public opinion or exercise the authority. In fact,
the abuse of language is also another function which affects the logic of conversation or
written text and results in a relationship between human beings out of ordinary. Intellectual
discourse intends to create a common dialogue between people and values the opinion of
the others, but fallacious and deceptive discourse tries to impose itself on the audience.
This discourse wants to dominate on the audience in any way. Intellectual discourse targets
the addressee’s intelligence and avoids creating an emotional space, while on the contrary,
deceptive discourse targets its addressee’s emotions. In this world, with such a complex
and extensive relationships, interact with others, can you only use the word intellectual to
be successful? Is it possible to have a decent speech without suspicion charms with it? In
this paper, we intend to review the difference between these two discourses and besides
investigate their consequences in our community.
Key words: language, Intellectual discourse, fallacious discourse, common dialogue,
power.
Biodata:
Mohammad Reza Mohseni is currently an Associate professor at the Department of French
language, Islamic Azad University, Arak branch, Islamic Republic of Iran.
1.0
Introduction
Exupery's character, "Little Prince", writes: "Language is the source of misunderstanding":
especially in a world where cultural exchanges go beyond the borders of the global aspect.
These aspects of language are perhaps paradoxical and have cooperative effects. Diversity
contributes to cultural richness, but controversially, in today's self-centered world the focus
is on manifestations of decisive and violent misunderstandings.
Great philosophers such as Derrida, Lacan, Barthes, and their philosophy were based on the
plurality of sense, which is the beginning of a lack of understanding and inability to reach
an agreement.
225
In a social life we have no choice but to use language to communicate with others. The
internal logic of every bond encourages the individual to preserve his entity and gain more
benefits so that he may be able continue social life with much more power. In this regard,
language is an effective element for gaining this power. No doubt, among various tools,
language is the most efficacious that we use to gain access to our wishes or even satisfy our
ambitions; because it provides the opportunity to obtain more power to fulfill different
desires.
Manipulation of the collective and individual memory is one of the most used methods to
enforce power with the help of lingual abilities. This happens with psychological
dominance and creating one or more of the following disorders: disorder in understanding,
disorder in judgment and disorder in argumentation.
Undoubtedly, manipulation of the human collective and individual memory is not a new
subject among human communities and has a very old record. Since the time of the
sophists and even before them in the 5th century BC to date, ‘rhetoric’ has been an efficient
means to intellectual muscle-flexing during arguments and discussions; and mind
manipulation has been a tool to overcome public opinion.
Among indispensable human characteristics are tendency to obtain more power while
enjoying a vulnerable and changeable mind together with fervid feelings and sentiments.
The existence of such characteristics and particularities in human beings lead to skirmishes
and supremacy among them; and open the gate to any kind of intellectual dominance and
mental manipulation. On this basis a group or some individuals come to power and
consider themselves rightful to enjoy more benefits and use the outcome of others’ efforts.
There is another group who is intellectually, physically and sentimentally abused because
of lacking such a situation and power. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that there is a
sort of argumentation inside any understanding or judgment. Misjudgment, too, usually
results from a kind of prejudgment. Mistake in understanding leads to sort of illusion
because the individual errs in receiving the surrounding emotional and mental messages.
In this article, in addition to reviewing mental manipulation in a communicative process,
we will analyze the differences between the respective roles of language with its
hegemonic role. We will also examine the psychological features and strategies used by
manipulators of mind to overcome individual and collective thoughts.
2.0
Language, means of communication or a means to dominate the
thoughts of others
One of the functions of language, even in the complex and chaotic world of today, is to
overcome public opinion, influence public opinion, and even manipulate the collective
memory. Verbal communication can cause joy and warmth of human bonds. Because
empathy and connection is possible with words, responsible for human emotional needs.
Besides, the use of language to express anger and fury to destroy, not only distort the
language of communication, but also a means to break the boredom of unknown species.
226
In the field of trade and business, language is powerful instrument to influence customers
and motivates their purchases. Well-spoken merchants often use the art of language, to
show their product better than what it is, while customers despite being aware of this fact
will still submit to the impact of these sellers.
An argument may be right or wrong, good or bad in terms of conformity with the rational
and logical criteria, or being accepted by collective wisdom. Actually the individual or
collective wisdom is the criterion for judgment. Besides, the conclusions should be
evaluated by the power of wisdom to see its rightfulness or falsehood. No doubt when
reasoning is not based on wise and judicially approved patterns will not lead to rational
results or won’t result in logical conclusion by the audience. Such an argument can be
regarded as false.
Plato considered usage of oratory power, literary figures and rhetoric by the sophists a
cause of misguiding the mind. Because he regarded their duplicitous and decorated
arguments as nonsense presented to the audience in beautiful clothing. Yet his disciple,
Aristotle, shows conditions and situations in which offering reasons lead to firm belief.
After all, is that the individual abilities of orators, writers and preachers that increase the
impact of their words or are the words themselves capable of attracting the audience? Is it
the tone of speech, knowledge of language figures and encouraging the reader or listener
that determines or is it the possession of a broad scope of knowledge and eye-catching
awareness of the subject that determines the success of the preacher or writer?
“ if communication is the sharing of meaning, as one important definition states, then it is
clearly necessary to study the different kinds of meaning words can have in order to
understand why misunderstanding are so common” (Gill, Adams , p: 94)
The use of expressive art language technology and techniques in business circles and
market segments, in order to encourage customers to buy more and have greater
consumption. Use of stereotyped phrases to attract customers and persuade them about the
quality of the goods they supply, using the same language patterns is done.
Intellectual discourse intends to create a common dialogue between people and values the
opinion of the others, but fallacious and deceptive discourse tries to impose itself on the
audience. This discourse wants to dominate on the audience in any way. Intellectual
discourse targets the addressee’s intelligence and avoids creating an emotional space, while
on the contrary; deceptive discourse targets its addressee’s emotions.
Basically, powerful and strong words avoid a long discourse, are concise yet effective. In
the course of human history, sophists were perhaps the first well-spoken philosophers, but
were not yet great thinkers. Their goal was not to reach the truth or knowledge, but to
overcome the opponent in debate and discussions, using puns or the fallacy the opponent`s
speech.
However, those who posses great minds, correct and fluent speech do not need the
ornaments of rhetoric’s. Although eloquence in speech is admirable, provided it is not far
from the truth.
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The question remains whether the personal features of speakers and writers makes renders
their words powerful or do the words themselves contain the power to attract audiences. Is
the awareness of the subtleties of tone and rhetoric that determines the creation enthusiasm
in the listener or reader, or the benefit from extensive knowledge and awareness, and
nobility on the issue that will determine the success rate of an orator or a writer?
Of course, the above mentioned aspects are of major appliances in the speaker`s success,
but in the meantime, the listener should not be ignored. A wise and knowledgeable listener
or reader is not easily manipulated and does not believe every word of the speaker without
consulting his/her experiences. The speaker in an interaction has the necessary knowledge
to distinguish right from wrong, while the listener on the other hand could be unaware of
the truth, he/she seduced and captivated by the false promises of the speaker. Thus, the
listener should always be wise.
3.0
Mind manipulation
Mind manipulation is defined as any action or attempt using the psychological authority
and language skills in order to get owned the will, behavior and thought of the person or
group. This ownership of the mind sometimes can be summarized in the scope of personal
relationships, but in social and political arena, some institutions, organized with the aim of
individuals’ mental diversion trying to prevent their access to the correct information. In
such circumstances, people can’t judge correctly and sometimes the entire person's
physical and mental power is organized in order to meet their demands.
In every communicative process, on one side there is the message sender and on the other
side there is the receiver; and principally the message sender wants his word to be received
properly by the receiver so that his mental purposes are conveyed to him in form of
sentences and words in the best way. Although the lingual communication may be
damaged due to any reason like the inability of the announcer to present his intention or his
lack of command of the language, occurrence of such cases is beyond the will power of the
announcer and is not a deliberate thing; whereas the damaging of the message is done on
purpose by the manipulators of mind. These people not only do not care about the
miscomprehension of others or creating disorder in the message but like it deliberately;
because ambiguity in their word makes it difficult for the audience to decode their message
due to everybody’s different interpretation of their words.
As a message lacks clarity, smoothness and expressiveness, equally it will cause different
interpretations and takings. Choosing such a discourse is always tantamount to avoiding
describing a part of reality, or it presents an imperfect and incomplete sentence which will
lead to no logical conclusion. Occurrence of such a condition puts the audience before a
host of answerless questions. Ambiguity in ‘why’, ‘how’, and ‘what’ of the subjects will
always delay the comprehension of the ultimate meaning.
The message lacks clarity, precision and fluidity, it can equally be a source of various
interpretations. The use of such discourse is prevented from telling part of the truth, or
spoken unfinished and incomplete offerings that do not lead to a logical conclusion. The
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emergence of such a situation, the audience puts a lot of unanswered questions. The
ambiguity of meaning attached to postpone the final.
What is the general term of "brainwashing" is said in totalitarian and authoritarian political
structure of many of the systems used, is a form of mental manipulation. Anyhow, mental
manipulation is a sort of psychological reaction to the foundation of egotism and
selfishness, and the one who manipulates the minds of others ignores all their rights
because everybody should be at the service of meeting his interests and demands. He often
escapes any agreement or covenant and does not think but about proceeding his objectives.
He lauds the awareness, mental and practical capabilities of others as long as they are in
line with his interests. He does not tolerate any criticism since his defects and
psychological complexes have made him a spiteful and uncompromising person.
Among different tools for playing with and controlling the will power of the individuals
fear should be considered as one of the most common and most effective factors. Usually
as long as this factor is lasting and active with the (object) person he continues to be
affected by external elements and forces other than his personal will power take the control
of his mental guidance. But those who are able to harness their internal fears and escape
from mental insecurity will flee the despotism of fearful forces, too. Having necessary
information and knowledge and enjoying self-confidence are undeniable for success in this
field.
Putting individuals in frightful and worrying circumstances severely wears out their mental
and psychological ability, makes their decision-making blunt or impossible, and in general
undermines their individual and social capabilities remarkably. To get rid of these critical
conditions the individual usually takes hasty decisions and irrational solutions to just get
rid of this tough condition. The occurrence of such conditions provides a proper
opportunity for the manipulator of mind to play with his prey in the best way.
“Manipulators of mind are undeniably the eroding elements of energy. 90 percent of us are
the victims of their acts. The 10 remaining percent, too, show a sort of emotional
indifference to them and are only annoyed at the form of communicating with them or
maybe their misuse of power.” (Nazare Aga, page 61).
4.0
Conclusion
Many people consider language an effective tool to understand the facts of the world, at
times its usage is reversed in this arena turning to a means to mislead public opinion and
manipulate mind. In this case vocabulary plays the role of power enforcement. As a matter
of fact, misusing the language is another form of its application that harms the logic ruling
discourse and word, and drives human interrelation out of its conventional, sound and fair
path.
Mental manipulation is possible in any place capable of materializing a humane bond
where individuals try to exploit more. In job positions, social relations and even conjugal
229
bonds and family relations each person, motivated by supremacy over others, can seek to
create a sort of mental deviation. Indeed every human being, during his life, may
manipulate others’ minds with different motives or be the victim of such action. Sometimes
this behavior takes a transient shape. Perhaps Machiavelli was right when he said that in
many present fields of human relation the force of fox’s deception is more efficient than
that of the lion’s power to reach the goal.
Although word ornamentation and beautification are palpable in literary aesthetics,
whereas the argumentation power and rhetoric, especially for persuading the audience stem
from the orator’s power of analysis and often are seen in the philosophical fields,
sometimes these two domains are intertwined so that the orators and thinkers put the two
abilities together to gain access more easily to their various political, cultural and judiciary
objectives.
230
References
Beck. Andrew. Bennett, Peter. Wall, Peter. Communication Studies: The Essential
Resource. London And New York. Routledge. 2004
Cohen, Carl. M. Copi, Irving. Introduction To Logic. Prentice-Hall. New Delhi. 2002
Fuchs, Claude. Linguistique Et Traitements Automatiques Des Langues. Paris. Hachette.
1993
Gill, David. Adams, Bridget. Abc Of Communication Studies. London. Nelson. 2002 .
Houdson. R.A. Sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press. London. 1996 .
Kristeva, Julia. Le Langage, Cet Inconnu. Paris. Points .2005
Extension Du Domaine De La Manipulation. Paris. Grasset .2008
. Marzano, Michela.
Nazare-Aga, Isabelle. Les Manipulateurs Sont Parmi Nous. Québec. L’homme. 1997
231
Literal Translation as Communication Strategy in NonNative Japanese Language Learner’s Written Text
Farah Tajuddin1, Roslina Mamat2
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Abstract
Learning a foreign language opens up doors of opportunity to the language user. In this
study, Japanese language (JL) learners had limited time to learn the language before
entering the Japanese university. Being students, having the ability to perform in oral and
written communication is important for their academic requirement. However, with limited
JL knowledge, it is often that learners encounter difficulties when trying to deliver their
intended message. In such situation, learners employ steps known as Communication
Strategies (CS) to solve those language problems. In a previous study conducted, the JL
learners perceived to depend heavily on their L1 in overcoming language difficulties.
However their actual writing did not display their perception. Strategies related to L1 were
minimally employed with literal translation (LT) strategy to be the least. Ten high
proficiency (HP) learners and ten low proficiency (LP) learners performed a writing
activity on spontaneous basis with the writer. The written text was examined to identify CS
using Dornyei & Scott’s (1997) inventory of CS. The current study gave focus on their use
of LT strategy by highlighting the types of LT employed. The findings revealed that the
difference in proficiency level among the two groups exerted difference in the types of LT
employed. HP learners translated mostly Malay phrases with cultural content whereas LP
learners translated the Malay grammar more. Additionally, the use of LT resulted in both
positive and negative outcome in delivering the learners’ message, thus highlighting the
need to include cultural information of the society in language learning.
Keywords: Japanese language learners, communication strategies, written text, literal
translation, L1 Malay
Biodata: Farah Tajuddin is a Japanese language instructor at the Centre for the
Advancement of Language Competence, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Roslina Mamat is a
senior lecturer at the Department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Modern Languages and
Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
1.0
Introduction
Learning a foreign language has many merits. Apart from the daily used languages, the
ability to converse and communicate in a foreign language opens up many doors of
opportunity to the language user. Malaysia being a multi-cultural and multi-lingual
country, it is easy to find an individual who is able to communicate well in at least two
232
languages; mother tongue and English. Based on the explanation provided by Oxford
(2003), English can be considered a second language in Malaysia as it is used in daily
interaction whereas Japanese can be considered a foreign language as it is not commonly
spoken among Malaysian in everyday communication.
Japanese language learners in this study were Malaysian students from the Malay
race who learned Japanese in a two year preparatory program (Rancangan Persediaan
Khas ke Jepun, RPKJ) for Japanese universities. The RPKJ students had limited time to
equip themselves with adequate Japanese language (JL) knowledge before embarking on
their academic quest in the native land. Being students, their ability to use the language had
to be seen in their ability to communicate both in the oral and written form.
Writing becomes a challenging task when it is performed in a language where the
language knowledge is still insufficient. Kamimura (1996) has mentioned that ‘a certain
amount of threshold’ in L2 proficiency is required to enable the writer to compose a text
similar to the L1 text. Having said so, even with limited JL proficiency, the RPKJ learners
must strive to produce well-written text to fulfill their academic requirement. In such
situation, learners make tremendous effort, using various steps and ways to overcome those
language difficulties which prevents them from conveying their message in words to
complete their writing task. These steps are known as Communication Strategies (CS).
In the CS taxonomy, there is an array of strategies ranging from strategies that
helps to convey the intended message (achievement strategies) to strategies that demotes
the communication (avoidance strategies). Achievement strategies can be divided into three
type based on the source of the information the learners draw upon; L2-based strategies,
L1-based strategies and paralinguistic strategies such as mime (Bialystok, 1990). L2-based
strategies are strategies where the learners manipulate their L2 knowledge using L2 words
to solve communication difficulties in conveying their message. On the other hand, L1based strategies are strategies where the learners fall back on their L1 in their attempt to
overcome language difficulties. Literal translation is a type of an L1-based strategy.
Literal translation occurs when learners translate literally a lexical item, an idiom,
a compound word or structure from the source language to the target language (Dornyei &
Scott, 1997). Houghton & Al-Asswad (2014) describes literal translation as a technique
similar to word for word translation of a phrase. To language learners, this ‘technique’ of
using another language facilitates them to continue their message in times of difficulties.
However, when translating messages without its cultural background leads to awkward and
vague messages as language and culture are closely related (El-dali, 2011).
1.1
Problem Statement
Language is learnt to communicate information in a meaningful way (Bhela, 1999). A
language learner who has adequate knowledge on the language is more able to use it
successfully. Nevertheless, learners with limited knowledge on the language can also use
various techniques and ways to compensate the language ‘gap’ they encounter when
communicating.
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In a previous study conducted by the writer (Farah Tajuddin, 2014), JL learners in
the RPKJ programme were seen to have used 19 different CS in their Japanese writing,
including one new found CS. The most employed CS were self-repair (SR) strategy and
appeal for help (AFH) strategy. The learners were not seen to depend on their L1 in their
writing as the strategies related to L1 which were literal translation (LT) strategy and codeswitching (CSW) strategy were found to be used very minimal. However, in a survey
questionnaire conducted before the writing activity was administered, the learners
perceived high dependency on their L1 in coping with writing difficulties. The difference
in their perception and actual performance has triggered the writer to probe into the
learners’ employment of L1-based strategies.
This study highlights one of the techniques used by the JL learners in the RPKJ
programme which is literal translation (LT). LT which sees the JL learners falling back on
their L1 or L2 to find the correct or close equivalent in Japanese is a positive effort made
by them in conveying their intended meaning. However there were instances whereby the
learners failed to notice the cultural element in the message and literally translated the
phrase leading to an incomprehensible Japanese sentence. Hence the sentence made more
sense in the source language (L1/L2) rather than in the target language (JL) (Bennui, 2008).
This was due to the absence of a common cultural background between the two languages.
Falling on L1 (Malay) or L2 (English) is not seen as a wrong choice or mistake
because it is natural for a language learner to find other means in conveying their message
when faced with difficulties in the target language. The RPKJ learners were seen to have
translated words, phrases and sentence structures from mostly Malay into Japanese to
describe their message regarding the Malay culture. Moreover, the learners used LT
differently among the high proficiency (HP) learners and low proficiency (LP) learners. As
an exploratory study, knowing the different types of translation employed by the HP and
LP learners would assist language instructors to see the difficulties faced by the learners of
different proficiency level. Apart from this, language instructors could also facilitate in
educating the learners about the cultural difference embedded in such messages.
1.2
Research Questions
The current study aims to answer the following questions;
1) What are the types of LT found in HP and LP learners’ Japanese written text?
2) What is the difference between LT employed by HP and LP learner in their Japanese
written text?
1.3
Significance of the Study
Studies on literal translation and CS have been explored by many researchers. However, its
implementation in the written form is yet rather scarce. As CS in Japanese written text by
JL learners is an exploratory effort, the current study aims to shed light on the use of literal
translation as a CS specifically in Japanese. This could help language instructors to see the
problems faced by the learners and also to assist them in using CS namely LT successfully.
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2.0
Literature Review
The notion of Communication Strategies (CS) has been widely discussed since it was first
introduced by Selinker in 1972. The term describes the effort employed by language
learners to overcome and manage language difficulties which could cause communication
breakdown (Tarone, 1977; Bialystok, 1990; Dornyei & Scott, 1995). Tarone (1977), who
continued the effort initiated by Varadi in 1973, proposed the first CS taxonomy in the
field. Upon examining the actual use of CS, Tarone (1977) saw CS as the learner’s own
effort (self-help) in dealing with communication difficulties.
However as communication involves an interlocutor, the role of the interlocutor is
equally important. In other words, CS was seen as “a mutual attempt of two interlocutors to
agree on a meaning” (Tarone, 1983:65).
In the early stages of CS, attention was given to its definition, identification and
classification (Kasper & Kellerman, 1997). As a result, various CS taxonomies were
presented by different scholars (Tarone, 1977; Kellerman, Bongaerts & Poulisse, 1987;
Bialystok, 1983; Bialystok, 1990; Dornyei & Scott, 1997) who viewed CS in different
ways. Generally the views were divided into two which are product-oriented view and
process-oriented view. As explained by Yule & Tarone (1997), the product-oriented view
focused on the observable form of L2 output produced by the L2 learner in accomplishing
reference. However, there are those who argued that disregarding the psychological process
in which the L2 learner implements in accomplishing reference, would lead to doubtful
validity in the CS taxonomy (Poulisse, Bongaerts & Kellerman, 1989; Bialystok, 1990).
Needless to say, the different views of CS presented different taxonomies.
Despite it all, strategies found in the CS taxonomy can be categorized into two
types which are achievement/compensatory strategies and avoidance/reduction strategies
(Yule & Tarone, 1977). Achievement/compensatory strategies are strategies which assists
the learner in conveying his message thus achieving the communication goal. Whereas,
avoidance/reduction strategies are strategies which does not assist the learner to convey his
message and therefore avoids achieving the goal of the communication.
Communication does not only occur in the oral medium but also in the written
medium (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2003). As CS studies began evolving
around oral communication, the taxonomies presented were tuned to oral speech. The
possibility of adapting the oral-tailored CS taxonomy into written communication was
investigated by Santos (2011). He found that L2 writers do encounter lexical difficulties
just as L2 speakers would. Moreover, Aliakbari & Allvar’s (2009) study on CS in written
communication indicated that learners with higher proficiency were able to use
reconceptualization strategies which deemed more linguistic ability of the target language.
This resonated with many CS study in oral communication where learners with higher
proficiency were able to employ more L2 based strategies to solve communication
problems (Teng, 2012; Rabab’ah, 2001; Roslina Mamat, 1999). With this, it is seen that the
CS taxonomy can be used to classify strategies in both oral and written communication.
235
Dornyei & Scott’s (1997) compilation of previous taxonomies presented 33
different types of strategies including their own (Dornyei & Scott, 1995) in which they
categorized CS into a three-by-four matrix CS taxonomy. Dornyei & Scott’s (1995)
taxonomy was based on three categories; ‘direct strategies’, ‘indirect strategies’ and
‘interactional strategies’ which was organized into the four areas of communication
problem; ‘resource deficit’, ‘processing time pressure’, ‘own-performance problem’ and
‘other-performance problem’. Dornyei & Scott’s (1997) CS inventory presented the most
detailed categorization hence was used in the current study in identifying CS in Japanese
written text.
In Dornyei & Scott’s (1997), literal translation is described as the act of
translating literally a lexical item, an idiom, a compound word or structure from L1/L3 to
L2. They gave the example of a French sentence translated into English ‘I’d made a big
fault’ which clearly showed the grammatical mistake. Tarone (1977) saw literal translation
as a conscious transfer of word of phrase from another language to another language. She
gave an example of translating a drinking toast to ‘invites him to a drink’ which did not
display grammatical mistake. However the translation can be miscommunicated by
someone who does not know the gesture of a drinking ‘toast’.
Hazlina Abdul Halim (2011) has highlighted that language learners depended a lot
on their L1 when faced with language difficulties. In her study of CS in French written text,
her Malay respondents employed LT mostly in their writing. She added that the use of LT
promoted French language learning. Another study which showed LT to be mostly used as
a CS was a study by Halizah Omar, Mohamed Amin Embi & Melur Md Yunus (2012).
Halizah Omar et.al. (2012) investigated CS from an online discussion conducted among
undergraduates. From an interview with their respondents, they found that the learners with
low proficiency in English constructed sentences in Malay which they then translated into
English, word per word. Their example was the English translation of ‘thing that make us
health and beauty’ as the word per word translation of the Malay word ‘sihat’ for ‘health’
and ‘cantik’ for ‘beauty’. Although the learner failed to notice the grammatical mistakes,
the message was still comprehensible as the words had similar meaning.
Houghton & Al-Asswad (2014) gave a clear description of types of translation
based on the many translation theories. According to them, translation can occur either
directly or indirectly. The direct translation method describes three different ways a
translation can take place; borrowing, calque and literal translation. Borrowing is when an
L1 term is borrowed into L2 such as the term ‘sushi’ in English. Calque is when the form
of L1 is reassembled through simple translation into L2 such as the English term ‘birthday’
being calqued as ‘feast of birth’ (eid milaad) in Arabic. Literal translation refers to word
for word translation of common phrases such as ‘my name is’ into Japanese ‘watashi no
namae wa’. Indirect translation involves more complex translation techniques which
includes transposition (changing a part of speech in L1 into a part of speech in L2),
modulation (change in semantic and view point), equivalence (using similar concept or
idea in L2) and adaptation (the change of cultural reference). In their study, Japanese
students explained some concepts in English to an Arabic speaker who then translated it
into Arabic illustrated how the students used their knowledge of English in giving
description to Japanese terms and concepts.
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Focusing on literal translation, translating common phrases into the target
language may and may not result in grammatical error. In the above example of the English
‘my name is’ into Japanese ‘watashi no namae wa’ is grammatically correct. However
translating the Malay ‘pelajar asing fakulti sains’ (foreign student of science faculty)
literally into Japanese ‘ryuugakusei no rigaku’ is grammatically incorrect as the learner had
retained the Malay grammar (Farah Tajuddin et al., 2013). Similar examples were also seen
in Hazlina Abdul Halim (2013) on her French learners. The French learners were seen to
retain the English structure of the sentence ‘I like classical music a lot’ into French ‘J’aime
la musique classique beaucoup’ leading to an incorrect French sentence structure. Other
types of literal translation found were of those involving articles. French article was seen
omitted when the sentence was translated from an English sentence which did not have an
article.
Similar to this finding, Thai students also displayed the same difficulty as articles
are absent in the Thai language. Bennui (2008) reported that Thai EFL learners would
construct the sentence in their L1 which they would later translate into English. Therefore,
the absence of article in the Thai sentence was literally translated into English resulting in
an incorrect English grammar. Bennui (2008) also pointed out that learners also used
English words in inappropriate context due to the difference of its usage in the source
language.
Translating words which were commonly used in L1 into the target language was
also seen in Hazlina Abdul Halim’s (2013) study. Her French students translated the Malay
sentence ‘saya juga’ (I also) as ‘moi aussi’ in French negation which was incorrect as the
word ‘aussi’ needed to be replaced with ‘non plus’. Despite the grammar errors, the
learner’s message was well understood by their interlocutor without communication
breakdown making LT strategy a good technique to employ when faced with difficulties
when communicating orally (Hazlina Abdul Halim, 2013).
3.0
Methodology
This study was a continuation of a previous study conducted by the writer (Farah Tajuddin,
2014). Both quantitative and qualitative measures were taken in data collection. The RPKJ
students were divided into two groups; high proficiency (HP) learners (second year) and
low proficiency (LP) learners (first year). At the time of the study, the HP learners and LP
learners had completed 932 and 308 JL learning hours respectively. A simple questionnaire
was distributed, probing into their perception of CS use in their Japanese writing. Two
weeks later, 10 Malay students from each proficiency group participated in a writing
activity with the writer on one-to-one basis. The topics for the writing activities were
Ramadhan and Hari Raya which were closely related to the Malay culture. This was to
ensure each respondent had similar amount of knowledge on the topic. The writing activity
was conducted spontaneously with the writer. A question (prompt) was written on a piece
of paper which was then given to the learner. The learner would then write their response
and return the paper to the writer for the following prompt. The whole activity included
237
about six to seven turn takings without time limitation. The whole writing activity was
video recorded and an interview was also carried out.
Based on the video recording and the follow-up interview, the HP and LP
learners’ written text were examined to identify CS using Dornyei & Scott’s (1997)
inventory of CS. From the taxonomy, strategies which were not related to writing were
excluded leaving only 18 CS used in this study. The CS were tabulated in graphs to
determine the frequency of use for each CS. From the findings, the writer gave focus on the
literal translation (LT) strategy used by the learners. The types of LT employed by the HP
and LP learners were examined to see the difference in their employment thus answering
the research questions. The writer also received assistance from a native Japanese speaker
in clarifying whether the translated sentences were well understood.
4.0
Findings and Discussion
The survey questionnaire revealed that both HP and LP learners perceived to depend a
great deal on their L1 when writing in Japanese. In Dornyei & Scott (1997) CS taxonomy,
strategies related to L1 were literal translation (LT) and code-switching (CSW). From the
survey questionnaire, CSW (81%) and LT (75.9%) were perceived to be used by the HP
learners. Whereas, LT (89.1%) and CSW (75%) were perceived used by the LP learners.
Interestingly, the HP and LP learners’ perception on the type of their L1 dependency was
opposite of each other. However the results elicited from their actual writing, the HP and
LP learners did not put great dependence on their L1. HP learners only employed CSW
8.59% and LT 5.8%. Similarly, LP learners employed CSW 4.25% and LT 2.51%. For
both groups, LT was the least employed with regards to L1 dependency.
The results for LT will be discussed according to the proficiency group, starting
with HP followed by LP. For each group, the types of LT found in the learners’ text is
presented and discussed below.
4.1
Literal Translation Strategy among High Proficiency Learners
Referring to Table 1, LT found among the HP learners were seen in the form of word,
phrase and grammar translation. In the word translation, the HP learners mostly translated
from their L1 which was Malay. Only one example was found translated from English. As
for phrase and grammar translation, both only occurred from the Malay language. It
seemed that although the HP learners had higher JL proficiency, they still depended on
their L1 in giving reference to messages which were related to the Malay culture.
Table 1: Literal Translation (LT) Strategy found in HP learners’ Japanese Written
Text
Type of
Communication
Strategies (CS)
HP (RPKJ2Y)
Description
Word translation
Literal Translation
(LT)
Phrase translation
Grammar
LT from Malay word
LT from English word
LT from Malay phrase
LT from English phrase
LT from Malay grammar
Occurrence
Percentage
6
1
9
2
33.3%
5.6%
50%
11.1%
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translation
LT from English grammar
Total LT
18
100%
Below are some examples of LT from Malay words by the HP learners.
2YS6
2YS8
それから、/いえに いて、かぞくと/食べたり、あやまったりする。
Sorekara, / ie ni ite, kazoku to / tabetari, ayamattari suru.
The Japanese term ‘ayamaru’ (root word for ‘ayamattari suru’) carried the meaning
‘apologize for a fault that has been done’. However in the Malay culture, this type of
apologizing does not necessary point to a certain fault but rather a custom that is performed
by people on a particular day such as Hari Raya, which is to forgive and be at peace with
one another.
その 色は赤⊕黒です。そうというか、暗い赤です。
Sono iro wa aka ⊕ kuro desu. Soutoiuka, kurai aka desu.
In the above sentence, the learner described the dark red colour in Malay which is called
‘merah gelap’. She translated the Malay word ‘gelap’ (dark) in to its Japanese term ‘kurai’.
However in Japanese, to express dark colours the term ‘koi’ (濃い thick/dark) is used.
Therefore, the correct term for the dark red colour in Japanese is ‘koi aka’ (濃い赤).
From the above examples, LT from Malay words seemed to have resulted in the
improper use of words due to difference in cultural element embedded in the L1 word
(2YS6) and the incorrect use of words with similar semantic meaning (2YS8).
Moving on to the next item, there was only one LT from an English word which is
as below. This indicated that the HP learners did not rely much on translating items from
English in coping with difficulties.
2YS6
一年間/中に/一回だけHARI RAYAをおいわいしています。
Ichi nen kan / juu ni / ikkai dake HARI RAYA wo oiwaishite imasu.
Learner wrote the kanji character ‘間’ (which means ‘duration’) half-way when she
cancelled the character and paused. After the pause, she wrote the kanji character ‘中’
(which means ‘in’) instead. In Japanese, the term ‘ichi nen kan’ (一年間) gives the meaning
of ‘in a duration of one year’. However, the term ‘ichi nen juu’ (一年中) meant ‘for the
whole one year’. Therefore the correct term to be used here would have been the kanji
character which she had earlier cancelled.
Interestingly, LT from Malay phrases was mostly found in the HP learners’ text.
The learners displayed their ability to maximize their JL knowledge in trying to give
description as close as possible to their intended message. However, failing to realize the
difference in cultural belief, their conveyed message would not be well received by native
Japanese. Examples of such translation are as shown below.
2YS2
この1ヵ月間に私たち/だんじきしたり//かみさま との かんけいを なお
す。
Kono ikka getsukan ni watashi tachi / danjiki shitari / / kamisama to no kankei wo naosu.
Learner translated the Malay phrase ‘memperbaiki hubungan (kita) dengan Tuhan’ (to
amend (our) relationship with God) into Japanese. The learner has substituted ‘hito’
(people) in a similar Japanese expression ‘hito to no kankei wo naosu’ (to amend
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2YS8
relationship with people) with the term ‘kamisama’ (God).
朝から夕方まで食べるとか飲むとか、自分を{Prohibit}禁止します。それだけで
なく、悪いことも/しないように、自分を{Train}訓練します。
Asa kara yuugata made taberu toka nomu toka, jibun wo {Prohibit} kinshi shimasu.
Soredake denaku, warui koto mo / shinai youni, jibun wo {Train} kunren shimasu.
In the first sentence, the learner translated the Malay phrase ‘melarang diri’ (to prohibit
oneself) into Japanese, using the term ‘kinshi’ (prohibit) in the Japanese phrase. In the
second sentence, she once again translated the Malay phrase ‘melatih diri’ (to train oneself)
into Japanese, using the term ‘kunren’ (train) in the Japanese phrase.
From the above example, LT from Malay phrase resulted in an awkward and
incomprehensible Japanese sentence (the writer referred to a native Japanese speaker).
Although the effort exploited the learners’ linguistic ability in Japanese, it failed to deliver
their intended meaning. This would only cause misunderstanding which may lead to
communication breakdown. The availability of equivalent concepts in both languages
would assist in achieving communication goal. Houghton & Al-Asswad (2014) has stated
that ‘a certain degree of cultural similarity’ facilitates communication. Without which, its
absence would lead to confusion.
LT from the Malay grammar was minimal indicating that the HP learners had a
relatively good command in constructing Japanese sentences. Moreover, from the video
recording it seemed that most of them were able to write without much delay after being
presented with a prompt from the writer.
2YS5
4.2
これはパンの/一つのパンのしゅるいで、/ふつうに/カレーといっしょに食べま
す。
Kore wa pan no / hitotsu no pan no shurui de, / futsuuni / karee to isshoni tabemasu.
Learner seemed to have taken two steps in translating the Malay phrase ‘satu jenis roti’ (a
type of bread) into Japanese. He began with the translation of ‘jenis roti’ (type of bread) as
‘pan no shurui’ in Japanese. Secondly, he translated ‘satu’ as ‘hitotsu’ for ‘one item’.
However, by retaining the Malay structure, the Japanese translation was incorrect.
Literal Translation Strategy among Low Proficiency Learners
Referring to Table 2 below, at a glance, the LP learners employed less amount of LT than
HP in their Japanese writing. From the LP learners’ text, it became clear that the LT
employed by them were solely based on their L1 Malay. The LP learners translated Malay
words and Malay phrase slightly less than Malay grammar in their Japanese writing.
Table 2: Literal Translation (LT) Strategy found in LP learners’ Japanese Written
Text
Type of
LP (RPKJ1Y)
Communication
Description
Occurrence
Percentage
Strategies (CS)
LT from Malay word
3
30%
Literal
Word translation
LT from English word
Translation
LT from Malay phrase
3
30%
(LT)
Phrase translation
LT from English phrase
-
240
Grammar
translation
LT from Malay grammar
LT from English grammar
Total LT
4
10
40%
100%
Below are some examples of LT from Malay words elicited from one particular LP learner.
1YS3
だんじきは{Rise}/たいようをあげてから、さげで さげてまでです。
Danjiki wa {Rise} / taiyou wo agete kara, sagede sagete made desu.
Learner translated the Malay words in the phrase ‘dari matahari naik hingga turun’ into
Japanese. He used the term ‘naik’ (going up) as ‘agete’ (root word is ‘ageru’) which is not
suitable for the context in describing the sun. Similarly, the learner also translated the term
‘turun’ (going down) as ‘sagete’ (root word is ‘sageru’) which is also not suitable when
giving reference to the sun.
食べものは、いつも/ごはんと やさいと にくです。でも、/ちがう しゅうか
ん/は ちがう/たべものです。
Tabemono wa, itsumo / gohan to yasai to niku desu. Demo, / chigau shuukan / wa chigau /
tabemono desu.
Learner translated the word ‘lain’ (different) in the Malay local saying ‘lain minggu lain
makanan’ (different week different food) into Japanese. In her Japanese translation, the
term ‘chigau’ carried a different meaning which is ‘other’.
From the examples above, LT from Malay words did not pose to be a major threat
as the original message was still delivered although it sounded unnatural to Japanese.
Similar to this, Malaysian ESL learners also displayed the same effort due to their low
proficiency in English (Halizah Omar et al., 2012). This was because the words used,
although inappropriate to the context, had similar semantic meaning which aided in
delivering the intended message.
Examples of LT from Malay phrases were not much found in the LP learners’
text. In fact, the translation was not concerning descriptions to Malay culture but to
common phrases used by young Malay people in everyday conversation.
1YS1
一入/自転車を/もって行って、ほかの二人は/自転車の所/よこの所にすわって
います。
Ichinyuu / jitensya wo / motte itte, hokano futari wa / jitensya no tokoro / yoko no tokoro ni
suwatte imasu.
Learner translated the Malay phrase ‘bawa basikal’ into Japanese. However ‘bawa basikal’
is an everyday phrase which points to the meaning of ‘riding a bicycle’. The Malay term
‘bawa’ literally means ‘bring’, which the learner has translated into its equivalent Japanese
term ‘motte’ (root word ‘motsu’) as in ‘motte iku’ (bring around).
‘Ais kacang’ はいろいろな色もあるし、/味も/おいしいし、それで たくさ/人
が多い//好きです。
‘Ais kacang’ wa iroiro na iro mo arushi, / aji mo / oishiishi, sorede takusa / hito ga ooi / /
suki desu.
Learner translated the Malay phrase ‘ramai orang suka’ (many people like) into Japanese.
However, he translated ‘ramai orang’ into ‘hito ga ooi’ which carried the same meaning.
Translation of Malay phrases was comparatively high among the HP learners
(refer to Table 1). As the Malay phrases used by the HP learners were culturally embedded,
241
it seemed like the LP learners did not attempt to exploit their JL knowledge in giving
description to similar phrases. Instead the LP learners only translated those concerning
commonly used Malay phrases in daily communication. As the topic given to both HP and
LP learners was part of their everyday life as a Malay Muslim believer, both sets of
learners had equivalent amount of knowledge on the topic. Therefore, it seemed like the
lack of JL proficiency among the LP learner had influenced them to avoid providing
explanation related to commonly used cultural Malay phrases.
LT from Malay grammar was more among LP learners as compared to HP learner.
As the LP learners had less JL instruction, their ability in constructing grammatical
Japanese sentences was seen less than the HP learners. Examples of LT from Malay
grammar are as shown below.
1YS1
1YS3
ムスリムはじんじて しんじて、せいかつのあとて、/ほかのせいかつがありま
す。
Musurimu wa jinjite shinjite, seikatsu no ato te, / hokano seikatsu ga arimasu.
Learner used the Malay sentence structure ‘musurimu wa shinjite, seikatsu no atote, hokano
seikatsu ga arimasu’ (Muslims believe, after this life there is another life) in conveying his
meaning. The correct Japanese sentence structure would require the verb ‘shinjite’ be placed
at the end of the sentence. The Malay language has subject-verb-object structure, whereas
Japanese is subject-object-verb. The learner’s Japanese translation became ungrammatical
as the original grammar structure was retained.
コンパンは どうぐの おどるしゅうかん『です』。マラヤのしゅうかんです。コ
ンパンは/『』{Skin}うしのかわから つくりました。
Konpan wa dougu no odoru shuukan 『desu 』. Maraya no shuukan desu. Konpan wa / 『
』 {Skin} ushi no kawa kara tsukurimashita.
Learner translated the Malay sentence ‘alat budaya tarian’ (tool for dance culture) into
Japanese ‘dougu no odoru shuukan’, preserving the Malay sentence structure. In Japanese,
the use of particle the ‘no’ (of) gives explanation to the latter noun. In the above sentence,
the noun that needed explanation was ‘alat’ (tool). Therefore, ‘alat’ had to be placed after
the particle ‘no’.
In the follow-up interview conducted, LP learners admitted that vocabulary posed
to be the biggest hurdle in their Japanese writing. However, a part from vocabulary, the
learners also faced grammar difficulties as they were still in the early stages in learning the
language (1YS6). On the other hand, the HP learners expressed that they would
automatically think of the Japanese sentence and write its structure appropriate to how the
words would be used in Japanese. One HP learner mentioned that as the JL learning takes
place, it is not advisable to mix the language knowledge with native language in order to
preserve the natural nuance of the target language (2YS10).
From all the above findings on LT from HP and LP learners, it can be concluded
that JL learners fall on their L1 when they are unable to find the correct or appropriate
equivalent in Japanese. Falling on L1 is a way to keep the communication channel open
and convey the writer’s message. However, when the message has a cultural message
embedded in it, falling on L1 fails to help in achieving the communication goal as similar
concepts are not shared (Houghton & Al-Asswad, 2014). In communicating topics which
included cultural background, translating the message literally would invite further
242
confusion due to the difference is cultural belief and reference. In such cases, cultural
elements in language needs to be given consideration as the two are closely related (El-dali,
2011).
Relating to proficiency, the difference in proficiency level among the two groups
had exerted difference in the types of LT employed. This study has illustrated that LP
learners were more depended on their L1 grammar which was clearly related to their ability
in constructing grammatical Japanese sentences. At this stage of target language
development, it seemed that the LP learners were still building their strength in perceiving
what is transferable with regards to translation (Ellis, 1997). Another point was, the HP
learners made effort in giving description to cultural elements which deemed Malay
phrases in explanation. Even with the absence of similar cultural belief, the HP learners
still managed to manipulate their JL knowledge in giving reference. In the view of
language learning, this effort is seen positive as more target language use is made leading
to more learning (Rabab’ah, 2005). However, when the messages are culturally embedded,
such effort would lead to confusion (El-dali, 2011), hence disrupting the communicative
goal.
5.0
Conclusion
This study has highlighted the use of LT as a CS among non-native JL learners in their
Japanese written text. The study has revealed that non-native learners which were the
Malay learners depended on their L1 minimally in overcoming communication difficulties.
However, finer probe into their use of L1 indicated that LT resulted in both positive and
negative outcome in delivering their message. Although this particular strategy was not
extensively used in their writing, the learners had employed the strategy in conveying
culturally embedded messages.
The JL learners employed LT mainly when they were unable to find the
appropriate term in the target language due to their own resource deficit (Dornyei & Scott,
1997). The learners’ proficiency level also influenced the type of LT employed. The LP
learners translated the Malay word, phrase and grammar at similar rate. However, the HP
learners exploited more JL in translating Malay phrases in their writing with minimal
translation from Malay grammar. Furthermore, the total amount of LT among the HP
learners was more than the LP learners, indicating more CS was used in solving
communication problems. This reflected in the ability of HP learners to use their JL
knowledge as much as possible in giving description as accurately as possible.
Findings from this study have highlighted the need to include cultural information
of the society in language learning. This need is seemingly seen among higher proficiency
learners as they begin to attempt in using more target language knowledge in giving
cultural reference. Lower proficiency learners could also benefit from this provided they
already have the needed grammar knowledge of the language. The findings from this study
could assist language instructors identify the types strategies used and also how and when it
is used by learners, thus facilitating instructors in foreign language curriculum
development. By implementing CS in language teaching, specifically literal translation
243
strategy could help Japanese language learners put their Japanese to actual use in their daily
life communication even in Malaysia.
244
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studies. Journal of King Saud University – Language and Translation, 23, 29-45.
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Oxford.
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246
Malaysian Chinese New Year Dishes Nomenclature
Ng. Man Ling1, Ang. Lay Hoon2, Lam. Kai Chee3
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
3
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
Chinese people are generally very particular in naming of the dishes served at the
restaurant. For them, dish naming is a knowledge involving the combination of the dishes
ingredients together with their names to ensure that the names given can fit the specialty of
the dishes and also maintain their uniqueness at the same time. This article briefly explains
the nomenclature of Malaysian Chinese New Year dishes and investigates the physiology
culture of the Chinese people on it. Malaysian Chinese dishes are normally named based on
three methods, which consider the ingredients used (Ingredient Nomenclature), cultural
implication (Impressionistic Nomenclature), or a combination of both (The Actual
Situation Nomenclature). From a literature review, it was found that a majority of the
Malaysian restaurants tend to name the dishes by highlighting the cultural implication of
the dishes. In this study, a total of 295 dishes were collected from 24 restaurants to classify
the name of the dishes according to the three methods. This paper reported that dishes
nomenclature in Malaysia is complex. The result revealed that most of the Chinese New
year dishes are named according to cultural implication because Chinese people believe
that a good name will affect the year’s fortune.
Keywords: Malaysian; Chinese restaurants; dish naming; psychological and cultural
1.0
Introduction
Clothing, food, accommodation and transportation are the basic needs of human. Among
the four, people need food the most. Among Chinese people, food is the most important
element not only for survival but also in their culture. Food culture is always prominent in
wedding event, funeral, grand opening, friends gathering, business, working, and
relationship building purpose. “Eating” is a necessity in our live. (Wu, J. Y., 2008,
p237)Nowadays, there are plenty of restaurants and catering services competing with each
other in food creation, design and naming in order to obtain a perfect state, so that they can
attract more customers. Restaurants need to be innovative in creating new dishes by
modifying the food ingredients to maintain their business and at the same time contribute to
the art of creativity in food industry.
The culinary culture reflected by the dish name has also becomes an important
part in the social culture. By means of the languages, words and symbols, the dish name
especially the signature dish does not only reflect the prestige of the Restaurant. (Zhou, Z.
247
M., 2000, p34) It also reflects the cultural characteristic of certain territory (Zhong, A. N.,
2006, p79)
The objective of this article is to study about the naming culture of the Chinese
New Year dishes with the Malaysian Chinese as the research target.
2.0
Literature review
Chinese are very particular about dish naming, hence there are many Chinese
scholars who do research about dishes naming. From Zhen, S. H. (2005, p69) article, a
good dish will make people happy, increase their appetite and will be shared widely by
good comments and vice versa.
Chinese New Year is a very important festival for Chinese people, so naturally
they are very concern about the dishes name, presenting them with extra elegance and with
good meanings. Otherwise Guo, Y. (2008, p72) stated that, a good dish name must be real
with nice presentation and appetizing. Liu, Z. Q. (2000, p35) says that Chinese people like
to say auspicious words as blessing to others people and they even use auspicious words
for dish naming as they reflect the Chinese living concept and great wishes.
On the other hand, Chen, J. B. (2001, p14) categorizes dish nomenclature into
Realistic Nomenclature and The Actual Situation Nomenclature. The Actual Situation
Nomenclature named the dishes based on the enhancement and modification of certain dish
characteristics. This kind of nomenclature is formed by the association of both real and
illusion structures. He had also stated some of the common vocabularies used by chef as
color enhancemene, shape enhancement and infredient enhancement.
The food culture of a country can reflect the histories, economical, and cultural
development of the ethnic locals. Zhang, H. L. (2009, p364) had reported that one could
understand the culture of the local by understanding the dishes names because they reflect
different tradition cultures and customs. Malaysian Chinese food culture is basically
inherited from the tradition of Chinese culture; hence, one must understand Chinese dishes
nomenclature before studying about Malaysian Chinese food culture.
3.0
Research on dishes naming
Malaysia is a multi-racial country with Chinese making up a quarter of the population thus
retaining the characteristics of Chinese. This survey was to study the Malaysian Chinese
cultural psychology from the perspective of social linguistic through the Chinese food
naming phenomena. The discussed targets were acquired from the local publishers of
Chinese New Year cuisine magazines or articles within the downtown of Selangor and
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (also known as “Klang Valley”). These included total of 24
restaurants namely Jin Xiang Ge, Hai Wai Tian Da Fan Dian, Huang Ting Zi Wei Guan, Ju
Man Xuan, Xi Lai Deng Fei Chui Da Jiu Jia, A Shun Ge Yu Chi, Chui Heng Jiu Jia, Gu
Yue Tian Jiu Lou, Zhen Bao Yin Shi Ye Ji Tuan, Ke Jia Fan Dian, Xi Lai Deng Fei Chui
(Xi Mi Shan) Hai Xian Da Jiu Jia and Huang Gong Hai Xian Jiu Jia.
248
There were a total of 295 Chinese New Year Dishes names obtained from the
study. This article defined the dishes according the ingredients used (Ingredient
Nomenclature), cultural implication (Impressionistic Nomenclature), or a combination of
both (The Actual Situation Nomenclature) and interpreted together with their structure and
content so as to facilitate the understanding of the Malaysian Chinese social linguistic
phenomenon and to discover their culture psychology.
4.0
Chinese New Year dishes nomenclature
Chinese New Year is the greatest celebration for Chinese people, so there are
many activities to be carried out avoided. People believe that the blessings and happiness
that this festival brings will then flow throughout the New Year.
In the past, Chinese New Year is regarded as the Beginning of Spring in the 24
solar terms known as “Li Chun” which means the beginning of a brand new year.
Nowdays, Chinese New Year is referred as the First Day of Lunar Calendar (Zheng Yue
Nong Li Chu Yi). People are concern about the meaning of the dishes names besides the
high quality in terms of color, aroma and taste. Therefore, the dishes must be given names
with auspicious words for good omen.
16 main nomenclatures used in festive dishes and most of them practicing the
good values nomenclature which accounts for 54.24%. This showed that Chinese people
are very particular about prosperity, auspicious wording and also how the chefs give their
blessing through the special and meaningful dishes’ names.
The Chinese New Year dishes nomenclature is mainly formed by ingredients
structures.
I.
Mono Nomenclature
a. Names based on main ingredients:
coconut (ingredient)
Ginseng rootlets (ingredient) sea
II.
Combination of Two Nomenclatures
a. Ingredient + Cooking method: Honeydew (ingredient) steam (cooking
method) crab (ingredient) and others.
b. Ingredient + Vessel: Ube Yam (ingredient) fish head (ingredient) and
pot (vessel)
c. Ingredient + Taste: Salty (taste) pig hand (ingredient)
III.
Combination of Three Nomenclatures
a. Ingredient + Appearance + Cooking method: Seafood asparagus
(ingredient) mix (cooking method) fish roll (appearance)
b. Ingredient + Place Name + Cooking method: Hong Kong (place name)
Chinese angelica (ingredient) sesame (ingredient) roasts (cooking
method) duck (ingredient) and others
c. Ingredient + Place Name + Taste: Sichuan (place name) spicy (taste) and
249
shrimp (ingredient)
IV.
Combination of Four Nomenclatures
a. Ingredient + Taste + Cooking method + Place Name: Sweet (taste)
vegetables (ingredient) steam (cooking method) Australia (place name)
Leopard Coral Grouper (ingredient)
The Chinese New Year dishes nomenclature is based on one to a combination of
four nomenclatures. Instead, the Chinese New Year dishes were mainly formed by
Ingredient Nomenclature including ingredients, cooking methods, process, vessel, place
name and appearance.
In the previous studies (Zhu, X. X., 2002; Chen, J. B., 2001; Liu, F. L., 2005),
Impressionistic Nomenclature can be divided into four categories namely allusions,
proverbs, good values and homonym. Chinese people are very particular about things being
auspicious with good meaning especially in special celebration; hence chef will use these
kinds of nomenclatures in naming the dishes. Some of the examples of the nomenclatures
include good proverbs based: “Jin Ji Bao Xi” (rooster annunciation), “Sheng Sheng Bu Xi”
(continuous reproduction breed in an endless) and others; good value based: “Xin Fu Tuan
Yuan” (blessed reunion) and others homonym based: “Xi Ha Da Xiao” (laugh heartily). All
these dishes names do not indicate the ingredient used and seemed to bring about adverse
outcome.
Other than above, combination of ingredients used and cultural implication
nomenclature named is formed by the association of both real and illusion structures.
I.
Combination of Two Nomenclatures
a. Color + Ingredient:
lotus leaf (ingredient) golden (color) rice
(ingredient)
b. Numeric + Ingredient: four treasure (numeric) fried radish cake
(ingredient)
II.
Combination of Three Nomenclatures
a. Color + Ingredient + Cooking methods: red cook (color + cooking
method) vege fish maw (ingredient)
b. Color + Ingredient + Appearance: red cook (color) duck cutlets
(appearance + ingredient)
c. Color + Ingredient + Good Values: gold pumkin (color + ingredient)
happiness and longevity (good values) rice (ingredient)
d. Good Values + Cooking methods + Ingredient: grand prospect (good
value) stewed (cooking method) duck (ingredient)
250
III.
Combination of Four Nomenclature
a. Color + Ingredient + Cooking methods + Appearance: soya bean
(ingredient) small (appearance) silver fish (color + ingredient) stir fry
(cooking method) snack bean (ingredient)
b. Numeric + Color + Ingredient + Cooking method: golded (color) double
chili (numeric + ingredient) stir fry (cooking method) mushroom
(ingredient)
Among the three major types of nomenclatures, the Actual Situation
Nomenclature is more preferable to be used in Chinese New Year dish naming process
because it reflects meanings represented by the dish. Besides the consumers would be able
to deduce the ingredient used through the dishes name. Conversely, dish names with
Cultural Implication does cause lots of confusion for the consumers when they order food
because the name doesn’t clearly show or reflect the ingredients used.
5.0
The cultural psychology of dish naming
Malaysian Chinese ancestor had emigrated from China to Malaysia over hundreds
of years ago but the cultural spirit of Chinese is still being carried on by their next of kin
and even grand children from generation to generation. This cultural spirit is clearly
reflected in the daily diet where we find that the dishes naming are more focus on the
prayers of good fortune, auspicious out comes, elegancy and that cultural psychology.
Many Chinese people always hope for eternally good fortune, happiness,
harmony, power, wealth and health especially during grand festival, prayers or birthday
and wedding celebration. People are encouraged to say good wishes to express their
blessing to each other.
Chinese always desire for great fortune, wealth and higher job position, therefore,
words like “Fu” (prosperity) and “Gui”(wealth) are often used in Chinese New Year dishes
names such as “Fu Gui Nian Nian” (riches and honour year after year).
6.0
Conclusion
We can conclude Malaysian dishes nomenclature is very complex and varied
whereby name of a dish can be formed by several kinds of nomenclatures either based on
the ingredients used, cultural implication, or a combination of both. Chinese New Year
dishes are mainly named by using good values nomenclature indicating that Chinese people
are very particular about what is auspicious during the festival to assure good fortune in the
whole New Year.
251
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254
Misselection Errors in Malay Writing among
French Students
Hazlina Abdul Halim1, Ang Lay Hoon2, Miroslava Majtanova3,
Nor Shahila Mansor4
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
3
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
4
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
This study aims to analyse misselection errors made by French students in their learning
Malay as a foreign language with regard to the writing skills. The study utilized
quantitative and qualitative method of data collection, by applying the definition of
misselection errors by Dulay, Burt & Krashen (1982). A total of 10 French respondents
participated in this study. The task consisted of the administration of the four writing task
by the respondents. The study discovered the most dominant error produced by French
students in their Malay written tasks were misselection on lexis (52%), misselection error
on affix/ suffix (16%) and misselection errors on the phrases (11%). As a result of this
preliminary study, it is hoped that learners can acquire a better understanding of the Malay
language; and future study can help classify the errors that learners made and how they
could overcome them.
Keywords: Misselection errors, French learners, Malay as a foreign language, written tasks
Biodata: Dr Hazlina Abdul Halim is a senior lecturer and coordinator for B.A. (French
Language) programme at the department of Foreign Languages, Faculty of Modern
Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her main research interests are
in the areas of error analysis and communication and learning strategies in French
language.
1.0
Introduction
Learning a new language is no easy task, especially when the features of the target
language are different than the mother tongue. According to Lado (1957:2):
"We assume that the student who comes in contact with a foreign
language will find some features of it quite easy and others extremely
255
difficult. Those elements that are similar to his native language will be
simple for him, and those elements that are different will be difficult."
The differences between the two languages are among the roots for errors commit by the
learners. According to Hemchua & Schmitt (2006), foreign language learners in their
learning process, produce inevitably errors of various types. Therefore, by analyzing these
errors in language acquisition, it can help the instructors to predict and classify the
learners’ type of errors which will later be useful for the development of teaching materials
and the selection of teaching methods (Kitao & Kitao, 2000).
Learner errors can be categorized in various criteria. Brown (2000) divided them
into two main sources of errors, which are interlingual and intralingual errors. Dulay, Burt
& Krashen (1982) established four broad classifications of errors: linguistic taxonomy,
surface strategy taxonomy, comparative analysis taxonomy and communicative effect
taxonomy. Under surface strategy taxonomy by Dulay, Burt & Krashen (1982), errors are
divided to four categories, which are omission errors, addition errors, misformation errors
and misordering errors.
Omission errors refer to the absence of an item (such as articles, prepositions)
which must be present in a well-formed utterance. Oppositely, addition errors are the extra
item which is present in a well formed utterance. Dulay, Burt & Krashen (1982) divide
addition errors further into three categories, which are double markings, regularization and
simple addition, which contains the rest of additions.
The third category of the surface strategy taxonomy is misordering errors,
which refer to misordered items in construction and require a reversal of word order rules
that had previously been acquired. These errors also include misplacing items that are
correctly placed in more than one place in a sentence. The last category, which is
misformation error, refers to “the use of the wrong form of the morpheme or structure”
(Dulay, Burt & Krashen; 1982: 158). There are three types as well: in regularizations an
irregular marker is replaced by a regular one, (b) archi-forms and (c) alternating forms are
represented by “free alternation of various members of a class with each other (Dulay Burt
& Krashen (1982: 157). The misselection errors are the base of this study.
Writing is a difficult process even in the mother tongue. Undeniably, it is more
complex to write in a foreign language. Hence, a lot of errors were produced during the writing process.
According to Heydari & Bagheri (2012), a better understanding of the errors and the origin
of such errors in the process of EFL writing will help teachers know students' difficulties in
learning that language. Moreover, it will aid in the adoption of appropriate teaching
strategies to help EFL students learn better.
Hazlina Abdul Halim et al. (2011) carried a study to identify grammatical gender
misselection errors made by Malaysian students learning French as a foreign language with
regard to writing skills by applying the definition of misselection errors by Dulay, Burt &
Krashen (1982). Their respondents were 40 students who were learning French in the
intermediate level. The results showed that students made misselection errors of French
prepositions, verbs, adjectives, articles, and lexis.
256
This study, as opposed to the study by Hazlina Abdul Halim et al. (2011)
examined misselection errors produced by French students in Malay writings by applying
the definition of misselection errors by Dulay, Burt & Krashen (1982).
2.0
Problem Statement
The Malay language is linguistically different French, and among the striking differences
are the grammar and pronunciation (Hazlina Abdul Halim et al., 2009a). Thus, learners,
“due to the incomplete knowledge”, will tend to produce errors which is “the use of a
linguistic item” in a way a native speaker regards as showing faulty or incomplete learning
(Richards, 1992: 127).
3.0
Research Objectives
The objectives of this research study is to identify and analyse the misselection errors made
by French non-native speakers of Malay as a foreign language in their writing.
4.0
Limitation of the Study
This study will only discuss the misselection errors in Malay writings by French students.
It will not discuss other types of errors e.g. additional errors, omission errors, etc. Also, this
study does not take into consideration how the differences and similarities affect the choice
of the writing strategies used.
5.0
Materials and Procedures
This study utilized quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. The
subjects consisted of 3rd year Malay language students in the Institut des Langues et
Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), Paris, France. A total of 10 subjects aged between 24
to 58 participated in this study. Factors such as gender and race were not controlled in this
study. The instrument used in the study was the completion of four writing tasks by the
subjects. The data was analysed using the definition of misselection error from Dulay, Burt
& Krashen (1982).
6.0
Findings of the Study
Overall, 600 sentences were analyzed from the four essays (rough estimation on minimum
sentences for the four essays (15 sentences) multiplied by the number of respondents).
Below are the results for the four writing tasks given:
257
15
9
11
23
107
Misselection
Misformation
Omission
Other errors
Addition
Chart 1: Overall result of Malay Language Writing Tasks by French Students
The study found the most dominant error produced by French students in their Malay
written tasks was misselection errors (65 % of total errors). From this total, the major
misselection errors were misselection on lexis (52%), misselection error on affix/ suffix
(16%) and misselection errors on the phrases (11%). The repartition of misselection errors
were as Chart 2 below:
Misselection errors in Malay writings by French students (n=107)
56
60
50
40
30
12
20
10
3
17
9
8
1
2
0
Chart 2: Repartition of Misselection Errors in Malay Language Writing Tasks by French
Students
258
6.1
Misselection errors on Malay lexis
Misselection errors of lexis were produced by French students due to either direct
translation from French or English, or approximation to the correct vocabulary. In both
instances, they were interlingual errors demonstrating “when the required third language
item is unknown and the learner borrows an mother tongue’s substitute, the consequence is
an first language transfer error” (James, 1998:175). In the case of misselection errors
caused by literal translation (as per Table 1 below), the respondents tried to create Malay
words which they deemed similar to their mother tongue (French). In consequence, they
produced vocabularies such as amoral (from the word immoral), fiksi (from the word
fiction) and kontak (from the word contact), which don’t exist in Malay.
Malay sentences by French
students
Realiti televisyen dianggap amoral
kerana memaparkan semua aspek
kehidupan peserta rancangan.
(Translation: Reality TV programmes are
considered immoral because they
display all the aspects of live of their
participants).
Appropriate phrase in Malay
Rancangan realiti di televisyen dianggap
tidak bermoral kerana memaparkan semua
aspek kehidupan peserta rancangan.
Daripada melarang langsung filem yang
berisiko, orang tua lebih baik
menjelaskan lagi peranan fiksi agar
pemuda lebih sadar dan kritis.
(Translation: Rather than strictly forbid
watching risky movies, it is better for the
adults to explain the role of fiction so
that the youngsters will be more aware
and think critically).
Daripada melarang terus menonton
filem yang berisiko, adalah lebih baik jika
orang dewasa menjelaskan peranan fiksyen
agar kaum remaja lebih peka dan lebih
berfikiran kritis
Melalui
facebook
sangat
mudah
menemukan kontak-kontak baru.
(Translation: It is very easy to find new
contacts via facebook).
Melalui facebook sangat
bertemu kenalan baru.
mudah
untuk
Table 1: Example of misselection errors of Malay lexis by French students in their writing
tasks caused by literal translation from the mother tongue
The second category of errors on Malay lexis was produced when the respondents couldn’t
recall the correct vocabularies; hence they substituted them with the ones having the
approximate meaning to the intended vocabularies. Table 2 showed some of the examples
of misselection errors on Malay lexis triggered by the use of approximation technique.
259
Malay sentences by French students
Orang biasa bermimpi menjadi seorang populer.
(Translation: Human always dream of becoming
popular).
Appropriate phrase in
Malay
Manusia selalu bermimpi untuk
menjadi popular.
(Translation: People always dream
of becoming popular).
Penggunanya adalah orang dari hampir setiap
negara di dunia.
(Translation: The users are humans from almost
every country in this world)
Penggunanya adalah masyarakat
dari hampir setiap negara di dunia.
(Translation: The users are
societies from almost every country
in this world)
Tetapi teman-teman asli adalah orang lebih
dekat yang kita boleh menemui sebenarnya.
(Translation: But real friends are those nearer to
us and the ones we can actually meet)
Tetapi teman sejati adalah mereka
lebih dekat yang kita boleh menemui
sebenarnya.
(Translation: But true
friends are those nearer to us and
the ones we can actually meet)
Apalagi
mereka
mengabaikan
interaksi sosial kerana mereka
sudah boleh berkomunikasi dengan
kawan mereka melalui Facebook.
(Translation:
Moreover,
they
ignored social interactions since
they can communicate with their
friends through Facebook.)
Apalagi mereka mengabaikan interaksi sosial
kerana mereka sudah boleh cakap dengan kawan
mereka melalui Facebook.
(Translation: Moreover, they ignored social
interactions since they can speak with their
friends through Facebook)
Fleksibiliti Facebook juga boleh ditengok dari
perspektif kebebasan pengguna.
(Translation: Facebook flexibility can also be
viewed from the perspective of users’ freedom)
Fleksibiliti Facebook juga dapat
dilihat
daripada
perspektif
kebebasan pengguna.
(Translation: Facebook flexibility
can also be viewed from the
perspective of users’ freedom.)
Table 2: Example of misselection errors on Malay lexis by French students in their writing
tasks by using approximation
As per illustrated in Table 2, the respondents tried to find the alternative when
they couldn’t find the exact vocabularies, hence the use of vocabularies which
approximatively have the same meaning as the targeted words. In the first and second
example, the respondent tried to find an approximate term for ‘human’ and ‘people’,
therefore they use the word ‘orang’ instead of manusia (for human) and masyarakat (for
people).
260
6.2
Misselection errors on Malay affixes
Misselection errors on Malay affixes were produced by French students due to
overgeneralisation of their use in Malay sentences. In the first two examples, the
respondents overgeneralized the use of the affix ter- in Malay in their writings. In Malay,
the use of ter- brings various meanings to the sentence. The first meaning for the affix terwhich is combined with a verb denotes a past and well executed action by a subject. For
example:
Buku itu sudah siap tersusun untuk pameran esok.
Translation: The book has been arranged for the exhibition tomorrow.
Another sense for the affix ter- is an unintentional act such as terjatuh (to fall
unintentionally), termakan (to accidentally eat) and tergigit (to accidentally bite). The last
meaning for the Malay affix ter- is the inability to perform an act. For example:
Dia tidak termakan hidangan yang sungguh banyak itu.
Translation: He / She is unable to eat such an abundant meal.
From Table 3 below, misselection errors on affix ter- were produced when the
respondents generalized the use of other affixes without taking into account the context of
the sentence. In Sentence 1 & 2, the correct affix to be used is mem-...-kan which signifies
the execution of an action for someone. Hence, instead of writing terfokus (accidentally
focused on), the correct word should be memfokuskan (focusing on). The same goes for
Sentence 2, where the use of ter- in terbuka (accidentally open) was out of context. The
correct affix would be membuka (opens).
French
sentences
by
Malaysian students
Ada yang membenci acara TV kerana
hanya terfokus pada kepribadian dari
beberapa orang yang bersikap luar
biasa.
(Translation: there are some who hate TV
programmes as they only accidentally
focused on the personality of a few
people who behave unnaturally)
Bahasa kebangsaan boleh terbuka pintu
untuk mereka.
(Translation: National language can
accidentally open doors / ways for
them.)
Appropriate phrase in Malay
Ada yang membenci program TV kerana
hanya memfokuskan pada keperibadian
daripada beberapa orang yang bersikap
luar biasa.
(Translation: there are some who hate TV
programmes as they only focus on the
personality of a few people who behave
unnaturally)
Bahasa kebangsaan boleh membuka pintu
kepada mereka.
(Translation: National language can open
doors / ways for them)
261
French
sentences
by
Malaysian students
Penggunaan bahasa Inggeris dalam
media Perancis belum begitu menyebar
dibandingkan dengan negeri-negeri lain.
(Translation: The use of English in
French media has so spread as compared
to other countries.)
Appropriate phrase in Malay
Penggunaan bahasa Inggeris
dalam media Perancis belum begitu
tersebar dibandingkan dengan negerinegeri lain.
(Translation: The use of English in French
media has not been so widely spread as
compared to other countries.)
Table 3: Examples of misselection errors on Malay affixes by French students in their
writing tasks
In the last example from Sentence 3, the respondents should be using the affix terfor tersebar (spread unintentionally), instead of using the affix men- (denoting the action of
spreading).
From the examples below, it was clear that the respondents overgeneralized the
rules of using Malay affixes without being aware of the context of when they should
actually be used, especially for the affix ter- which counted for most of misselection errors
on affixes.
6.3
Misselection errors on Malay phrases
Similar to misselection errors on Malay lexis, writing errors on Malay phrases were due to
respondents’ insufficient Malay vocabulary, thus resort to overcome the deficiency by
using approximation strategy. Table 4 below shows a few samples of misselection errors on
Malay phrases:
Malay sentences by French
students
Buat
awam,
privasinya
boleh
menyebabkan kesan yang teruk jika had
tertentu tidak dipenuhi.
(Translation: For public, his privacy can
cause severe consequences if certain
limits are not met.)
Appropriate phrase in Malay
Bagi orang awam, privasi mereka
boleh terjejas jika tiada had tertentu yang
ditetapkan.
(Translation: For the public, their privacy
could be affected if no specific limit is
set.)
Menurut saya, penggunaan internet dalam
pembelajaran bahasa punya kebaikan dan
keburukan.
(Translation: According to me, the use of
Internet in language learning has
advantages and disadvantages.)
Pada pendapat saya, penggunaan internet
dalam pembelajaran bahasa mempunyai
kebaikan dan keburukan.
(Translation: In my opinion, the use of
Internet in language learning has
advantages and disadvantages.)
Saya fikir bahawa pada waktu kita balik
kampung, nanti kita sudah merasa lebih
Saya rasa bahawa pada waktu kita balik
kampung, kita akan merasa lebih matang,
262
tua, bijaksana dan terbuka otak.
(Translation: I think that at the time we
return home, we'll already feel older,
wiser and open brain.)
bijaksana dan berfikiran lebih terbuka.
(Translation: I think that at the time we
return home, we'll already feel more
mature, wiser and open minded.)
Table 4: Example of misselection errors on Malay phrases by French students in their
writing tasks
In the example from Sentence 1, the respondent wrote menyebabkan kesan yang
teruk jika had tertentu tidak dipenuhi (translation: cause severe consequences if certain
limits are not met) instead of writing boleh terjejas jika tiada had tertentu yang ditetapkan
(translation: could be affected if no specific limit is set) as a result of not having Malay
vocabulary to express the verb terjejas (affected) and ditetapkan (is met).
In Sentence 2, the respondent tried rephrasing pada pendapat saya (translation: in
my opinion) to menurut saya (translation: according to me), which roughly has the same
meaning, but was a not a correct phrase to be used. In both case of Sentence 1 & 2, though
there were errors in the phrases, the meaning could still be understood by any Malay
speaker.
Lastly, in the example from Sentence 3, the respondent tried to express the
experience overseas that made someone become more mature, wiser and open minded
when they come back to their countries. Due to lack of vocabularies, he / she rephrased her
Malay phrase to kita sudah merasa lebih tua, bijaksana dan terbuka otak (translation: we'll
already feel older, wiser and open brain), instead of phrasing them as kita akan merasa
lebih matang, bijaksana dan berfikiran lebih terbuka (translation: we'll already feel more
mature, wiser and open minded).
7.0
Overall Findings
This study explored misselection errors made by French students in their Malay writing
course. The study discovered that the misselection errors were the most dominant errors
produced by the students. The errors were mainly due to lack of specific vocabularies and
also an “overgeneralisation on the application of rules”.
8.0
Conclusion
Overall, this research, which adopted the definition misselection error by Dulay, Burt &
Krashen (1982) and misformation errors by James (1998) attempted to find errors made by
French non-native speakers of Malay in their writing. This exploratory study on error
analysis is useful for both learners and teachers of Malay as a foreign language. As a result
of this preliminary study, learners can acquire a better understanding of the Malay
language; and future study can help classify the errors that learners made and how they
could overcome them.
Recognizing, understanding and evading such errors can help to smooth learners’
learning process. Similarly, this exploratory study is useful for teachers by identifying at
263
which point—and why—learners committed the specific errors. An analysis on these errors
can be helpful for curriculum design and teaching techniques in ways that minimalize the
occurrence of errors (Hongquan and Kikuko, 2007). It will also help the teachers to prepare
the explanations to their students on the reason such elements in students’ writing are
considered erroneous, for a better understanding in Malay language is attained.
Acknowledgement: This research is sponsored by Malaysian Ministry of Education under
the post-doctoral scheme.
264
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266
Pronunciation Difficulties of Nonexistent Consonant Sounds
in the Arabic Language Experienced by the Arab ESL
Learners
Tasdiq Nomaira Alam1, Aliaa Kahwaji2
1
International Islamic University Malayasia, Malaysia, [email protected]
International Islamic University Malayasia, Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Abstract
Most of the Arab ESL learners fail to acquire the native like pronunciation because of the
nonexistent consonant sounds in their first language. In this paper, the main focus is on the
nonexistent consonant sounds in the Arabic language and the pronunciation difficulties that
may arise. The purpose of this study is to identify the problematic areas in the learning of
nonexistent consonant sounds by the Arab ESL learners and to provide a suitable solution
for their phonetics difficulties. This study follows both quantitative and qualitative research
methodology. For the quantitative research, a phonetics transcription test has been provided
to the participants to check their understanding regarding English phonetics system. A pretest and post-test have been conducted by the researchers to acquire the findings of
qualitative research. 40 Beginner level Arab ESL learners of an intensive English learning
institution in Malaysia have participated in this study. Results show that Arab ESL learners
should be exposed intensively to the English Phonetics system due to their lack of
knowledge about it. According to the phonetics test it was revealed that 33 students had
more than 77% mistakes in indentifying the correct transcription of the words. The pre-test
revealed that the major problematic areas revolved around the nonexistent sounds in Arabic
alphabets such as /v/, /p/, /tʃ/, /θ/, /dʒ/ and /ŋ/. However, after exposing the students to the
English phonetics system by following task-based approach, it has been proved that a
significant improvement could be noticed in Arab ESL learners’ pronunciation.
Keywords: Pronunciation Difficulties, ESL Learners, Task-based approach, Phonetics,
Consonant sounds
Biodata: Tasdiq Nomaira Alam obtained her Masters from International Islamic University
Malaysia. She also earned her TESL diploma from College of Educators, Canada. She has
several years of teaching experience in Middle East and East Asia.
Alia Kahwaji obtained her Masters from International Islamic University Malaysia. She is
also a PhD student in the same university. She has several years of teaching experience in
Malaysia.
1.0 Introduction
ESL learners face various difficulties while learning the different language components
such as reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. Although teachers try
their best to emphasize all the language components in the class to help their learners
267
improve their language skills, pronunciation is the least language component given the
required attention.
In fact, attaining native like fluency is the ultimate goal of most second language
learners and the first step to reach that level is to get accurate pronunciation. However,
most of the Arab ESL learners fail to acquire the native like pronunciation because of the
nonexistent consonant sounds in their first language namely, Arabic. In other words, since
English has 24 consonants and Arabic has 28, some consonants can be found in both
languages while some others can be found in one language but not in the other. Therefore,
the absence of some consonants in both Standard and colloquial Arabic causes some
problems for Arab learners as it leads to misunderstanding in some cases.
According to Ahmad (2011), the different phoneme systems of Arabic and
English are the reason why many learners face some overlaps while producing the sounds.
Therefore, Arab ESL learners tend to overcome pronunciation difficulties by replacing the
nonexistent consonant sounds with the similar consonants existing in their L1. It has been
noticed that certain pairs are confused by learners such as /ʧ/ and /ʃ/ as in ‘chair’ and
‘share’; /v/ and /f/ as in ‘fast’ and ‘vast’/dʒ/ and /ʒ/ as in ‘procedure’ /prəsi:dζə/ and
‘pleasure’ /pleζ.ər; /p/ and /b/ as in ‘pin’ and ‘bin’; /ŋ/ and /n/ as in /sɪŋ/‘sing’ and /sɪng/
‘sing’.It is worth mentioning that /v/ usually occurs in borrowed words only and /f/ is often
used for both sounds in English pronunciation by Arab speakers. Arab learners face
problems in pronouncing /ʧ/ and /dʒ/ due to their absence in standard Arabic. Moreover, as
/ŋ/ is absent in Arabic language, it’s difficult for them to pronounce /sɪŋ/ ‘sing’, instead
they replace it by two separate phonemes /ng/. The phoneme /p/ occurs in Arabic as an
allophone of /b/ in Arabic. However, Arab learners tend to replace it with /b/ although
pronouncing it constitutes little difficulty for them (Kharma & Hajjaj, 1989, p.17).
It is worth noting that the importance of shedding light on pronunciation
difficulties arises from the fact that it can sometimes stand as a real obstacle in
communication. In addition, many teachers do not focus enough on the problematic
sounds thinking that these consonants are too difficult for learners to produce which makes
the problem last longer. The main purpose of this study is to identify the problematic
consonant sounds encountered by the Arab ESL learners based on the colloquial variety of
Arabic the use and to provide some suggestions for teaching that would help reduce the
problem.
2.0 Literature Review
Many researchers have conducted their studies on the problems and difficulties of English
pronunciation encountered by Arabic speakers. The majority of the studies have been
conducted on vowel pronunciation, phonological analysis of English phonotactics,
consonant clusters, stress intonation etc. However, only few studies have focused on
pronunciation difficulties of nonexistent consonant sounds in the Arabic language.
Al-Dilamy (2012) conducted a study on Omani students of English and
pronunciation problems encountered by them. In his study, he focuses on some phonetics
and phonological problems related to the complicated orthographic system of English and
268
to the confusing relationship between pronunciation and spelling of English words and the
different sound systems of English and Arabic. Besides, he asserts that Omani regional
differences cause real pronunciation challenges represented mother tongue interference in
the target language.
In his study, E.M. Al-Saidat (2010) sheds light on the English phonotactics to
determine the types of pronunciation difficulties faced by Arab learners of English. In
addition, he tries to discover the types of declusterization processes and their sources. The
results of this study reveal that the mother tongue influence is the main reason for
declusterization processes. Moreover, results also show that Arab learners tend to insert
anaptyctic vowel in the onset and the coda of particular English syllables.
According to Alfallaj (2013), using linguistics in teaching pronunciation is of
significance to overcome most of students’ problems in pronunciation. His study aims at
identifying the difficulties faced by sixty-seven Saudi students in pronunciation. The Data
of this study was collected by questionnaire. The findings show that teachers with
background knowledge of linguistics especially phonology would be able to help their
students handle pronunciation difficulties efficiently. In addition, the findings reveal that
nonexistent vowel or consonant sounds are difficult for Saudi students.
Ali Tajeldin (2013) conducted an experimental study on certain linguistic causes
of production errors of English spoken with Sudanese Arabic accent. The subjects of this
study were ten Sudanese University learners of English who were expected to face
problems with the production of English vowels in both individual words and real
communication. The researcher focused on identifying the differences of English vowel
tokens spoken by both Sudanese and native speakers of (RP). The results showed that most
differences were related to central and back vowels of English. Furthermore, the findings
indicated that the Sudanese learners of English had difficulty learning the English vowels
due to mother-tongue interference and lack of English knowledge.
In his study, Ahmad (2013) investigated the pronunciation difficulties encountered
by Saudi students when pronouncing certain English consonant sounds. All participants
have never been exposed to any native English environments. The results indicate that the
Arabic speakers faced difficulties in pronouncing certain English consonant sounds, such
as: /p/, /d/, /v/, /tʃ/, /ʒ/, and /ŋ/. The study also provided some helpful suggestions and
teaching strategies that will help teachers overcome pronunciation difficulties among their
students.
Hassan (2014) conducted a study to shed light on the problems in English
pronunciation experienced by Sudanese students as well as to highlight the problematic
sounds and the factors causing them. The participants were fifty students and thirty
university teachers of English language from University of Sudan of Science and
Technology (SUST). The researcher used observation, recordings and a structured
questionnaire to collect his data. Also, he discovered some useful techniques that would
help the Sudanese Students improve their pronunciation. The findings of the study revealed
that Sudanese Students faced problems with English vowels that have more than one way
of pronunciation in addition to some consonant sounds such as /z/ and /ð/, /s/ and /θ/, /b/
269
and /p/, /ʃ/ and /tʃ/. According to the findings of this study, mother tongue interference is
the major reason for such pronunciation problems.
3.0 Methodology
This study follows both quantitative and qualitative research methodology. For the
quantitative research, a phonetics transcription test has been provided to the participants to
check their understanding regarding English phonetics system. Then a pre-test and post-test
have been conducted by the researchers to acquire the findings of qualitative research.
3.1 Participants
Forty Beginner level Arab students from an intensive English learning institution in
Malaysia participated in the current study. The students were from different countries of
Arab peninsula such as Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and
Palestine. All the students have completed at least secondary level of school education.
Although they had received English language instruction in the school in their respective
native countries, the learning was not sufficient as their base of English is fragile. They had
not been to any English speaking countries to have any kind of English exposure before
Malaysia.
3.2 Instruments
The researchers depended on observation and tape recordings to collect the data from the
sample of the students. In this research, a phonetics transcription test has been provided to
the participants to check students’ knowledge about English phonetics system; this test is
conducted to gather the data for quantitative research. In addition, a pre-test and post-test
have been conducted by the researchers to obtain the qualitative research.
3.3 Data Collection
The students were selected based on their native language which is Arabic for recording
samples of consonant sounds. Several words from the students’ text book were selected for
each problematic consonant sound that are absent in Arabic alphabets. Each participant was
asked to read the words aloud while being recorded. The students were informed that the
speech styles provided by them would be tape-recorded. All the participants were informed
that the research was designed to explore the problems regarding the pronunciation of
absent English consonants which Arab students encounter.
3.4 Data Analysis
The researchers analyzed the recordings carefully. As both the researchers are experienced
ESL (English as Second Language) instructors and also experienced in teaching Arab
students, it was effortless for them to identify the problematic sounds as they occurred
within the participants’ aural speech recordings. The researchers pay special attention to
the particular consonant sound within the words. Later, the researchers investigated the
results of pre-test ad post-test to compare the improvement of the participants’
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pronunciation. The outcome of findings are shown in the ‘Findings and Discussion’ part
with selective examples and explanations.
4.0 Results and Discussion
4.1 Observation and the Recorded Test
First, the researchers figure out the non-existent consonant sounds in Arabic alphabets. As
one of the researchers is Arabic native speaker, it was quite straightforward by the
researcher’s observation to find the Arabic non-existent consonant sounds and the similar
existing consonant sounds in Arabic. Moreover, phonetics transcription test helped the
researchers to identify the problematic area of Arab students’ pronunciation. The
pronunciation difficulty of non-existent consonant sound is shown in table 1.
Table 1: Pronunciation Difficulties of Nonexistent Consonant Sounds
Nonexistent consonant
sounds
/v/
/p/
/tʃ/
Similar L2 adjustment (Arabic and English)
alabio-dental consonant close to /f/ in Arabic.
a bilabial consonant like /b/ in Arabic.
analveo-palatal consonant which is close to /ʃ/ in Arabic.
/θ/
dental fricative /θ/ is close to the alveolar fricative /s/
/dʒ/
/ŋ/
analveo-palatal consonant which is close to /ʒ/ in Arabic.
a velar consonant which is totally absent in Arabic.
According to the table 1, certain pairs are confused by learners such as /ʧ/ and /ʃ/
as in ‘chair’ and ‘share’; /v/ and /f/ as in ‘fast’ and ‘vast’/dʒ/ and /ʒ/ as in ‘procedure’
/prəsi:dζə/ and ‘pleasure’ /pleζ.ər; /p/ and /b/ as in ‘pin’ and ‘bin’; /ŋ/ and /n/ as in
/sɪŋ/‘sing’ and /sɪng/ ‘sing’.It is worth mentioning that /v/ usually occurs in borrowed
words only and /f/ is often used for both sounds in English pronunciation by Arab speakers.
Furthermore, /θ/ is frequently mispronounced by /s/ or /z/. Arab learners face problems in
pronouncing /ʧ/ and /dʒ/ due to their absence in standard Arabic. Moreover, as /ŋ/ is absent
in Arabic language, it’s difficult for them to pronounce /sɪŋ/ ‘sing’, instead they replace it
by two separate phonemes /ng/. The phoneme /p/ occurs in Arabic as an allophone of /b/ in
Arabic. However, Arab learners tend to replace it with /b/ although pronouncing it
constitutes little difficulty for them (Kharma & Hajjaj, 1989).
Observing the Arab ESL learners pronunciation of the nonexistent consonants, it
is clear that they try to produce certain English consonant sounds by replacing it with
Arabic existing consonant sounds. The following table 2 shows phonological features of
the similar sounds in Arabic and English.
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Table 2. Phonological features of the similar sounds in Arabic and English
Non-existent Consonant sounds in
Similar consonant sounds existing in Arabic
Arabic
/v/
/v/ and /f/ are confused by Arab learners such as in
‘fast’ and ‘vast’.
/p/
/p/ and /b/ are confused by Arab learners as in ‘pin’
and ‘bin’.
/tʃ/
/tʃ/ and /ʃ/ are also confused by Arab speakers as in
‘chair’ and ‘share’.
/θ/
/θ/ is often mispronounced by /s/ or /z/ as in
‘thunder’ and ‘thousand’
/dʒ/
/dʒ/ and /ʒ/ are confused by Arab learners as in
‘procedure’ and ‘pleasure’.
/ŋ/
/ŋ/ and /n/ are confused by Arab learners as in /sɪŋ/
‘sing’ and /sɪng/ ‘sing’.
Table 2 shows that phoneme / f / occurs in both languages and it constitutes no
learning problems, while the phoneme /v/ is lacking in Arabic. Therefore, Arab learners of
English confuse it with its voiceless counterpart in English which is the phoneme / f/. For
example, van /v æn /, fan/f æn/, vast / va:st / , fast / fa: st / and so on. /b/ exists in both
languages, but in English it has a voiceless counterparts which is a distinct phoneme,
whereas in some Arabic dialects, as /p/ which is an allophonic variation of the same
phonme /b/ as in /pInk/. Therefore, Arabic-speaking learners of English may tend to
mispronounce such words as people /pi:pl/, park /pa:k/ and pen /pen / in that they are apt
to substitute the /p/ sound by their native phoneme /b/ thinking that this doesn’t make a
difference since it does so in their native language. Considering the phonemes / ʃ /, we can
say that there is no problem as it exists in both languages. But the phoneme /tʃ/is lacking in
Arabic, so, the Arab learners tend to use / ʃ/ instead suchas challenge / tʃǽl.ndζ/ becomes /
ʃǽl.ndζ/. /θ/ is often confused by /s/ or /z/ by the Arab speakers. It ought to be taken into
consideration that Arabic-speaking learners of English may substitute the phoneme / ʒ/ for
the lacking speech sound /dʒ/which is absent in Arabic language. The phoneme / ŋ / is not a
full distinct sound in Arabic. It is only an allophone of / n / and usually replaces it when
followed by / k / or /g/. Therefore, Arabic-speaking learners of English may have a strong
tendency to transfer this into English and pronounce the sounds separately; so, they
produce the following English words: thinking, singing and going as /θinking/, /singing/,
/gəuing/ respectively.
4.2 Pre- Test
The aim of this test is to identify the pronunciation errors among Arab ESL Learners when
they pronounce English words. The number of words shown in the table below was chosen
randomly. It worth noting that in every word, there is a certain consonant sound that was
expected to be pronounced incorrectly by the learners. In addition, for accuracy purposes,
the tested consonant sounds were given in different word positions; initial, medial and
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final. Each student was asked to read all the words loudly so that his voice could be
recorded clearly. At the end of this test, the errors were written on a paper and then
tabulated and analyzed statistically.
Table 3. The pronunciation of some English consonants in pre-test
word
TS
NS
NSC
%
NSI
%
path
cup
appropriate
chair
watch
catch
thunder
faith
methodology
average
bridge
jacket
ring
thinking
fishing
van
reveal
twelve
/P/
/P/
/P/
/tʃ/
/tʃ/
/tʃ/
/θ/
/θ/
/θ/
/dʒ/
/dʒ/
/dʒ/
/ŋ/
/ŋ/
/ŋ/
/v/
/v/
v/
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
40
8
7
8
7
8
8
9
6
7
9
7
6
8
6
8
8
14
18
18
7
8
8
20
17.5
20
17.5
20
20
22.5
15
17.5
22.5
17.5
15
20
15
20
20
35
45
45
17.5
20
20
32
31
32
31
32
32
33
30
31
33
30
31
32
30
32
32
26
22
22
31
32
32
80
77.5
80
77.5
80
80
82.5
75
77.5
82.5
75
77.5
80
75
80
80
65
55
55
77.5
80
80
Note. TS=target sound; NS=number of students; NSC=number of students with correct pronunciation;
NSI=number of students with incorrect
pronunciation.
As stated in table 3, the majority of participants mispronounced the target sound,
/p/ in all its positions as only 8 participants could pronounce it correctly. Most subjects
replaced the voiceless bilabial plosive /p/ with its voiced counterpart /b/. In the words
‘chair’, ‘watch’, and ‘catch’, only some participants could pronounce the target sound
/tʃ/appropriately while the rest mispronounced it as /ʃ/.
Regarding the consonant /θ/, only 6-9 participants could pronounce it correctly.
The rest replaced it with /s/ in all its three positions. In addition, it has been noticed that
80% of the participants substituted the phoneme/ʒ/ for the lacking speech sound /dʒ /which
is absent in the Arabic language.
The phoneme / ŋ / is not a full distinct sound in Arabic. It is only an allophone of /
n / and usually replaces it when it is followed by / k / or /g/. Therefore, Arabic-speaking
learners of English may have a strong tendency to transfer this into English and pronounce
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the sounds separately. Thus, 45% of the participants pronounced the following English
words: ring, thinking and fishing as / ring/, /θinking/, /singing/, /fiʃing/ respectively.
The consonant / f / exists in Arabic and English, so all Arab ESL learners
pronounce it correctly. However, the phoneme / v/ does not exist in Arabic. Therefore, the
majority of the participants confused it with its voiceless counterpart /f/.
The findings of pre-test strongly support the outcomes of observation and
phonetics transcription test.
4.3 Post-Test
This test aims at measuring the improvement of the participants’ pronunciation after
exposing and teaching them the right pronunciation of the non-existent consonant sounds
for seven weeks. Each participant was given several texts from the students’ text book to
read loudly while his voice being recorded. The researchers made sure that the texts
included enough number of words that contain the targeted consonant sounds. At the end
of this process, the
Errors were written on a paper and then tabulated and analyzed statistically. The
table below shows a number of words selected from the texts randomly.
Table 4. The pronunciation of some English consonants in post-test
word
TS
NS
NSC
%
NSI
%
Prepare
Chicken
Thousand
cabbage
king
video
/P/
/tʃ/
/θ/
/dʒ/
/ŋ/
40
40
40
40
40
40
35
34
38
37
40
39
87.5
85
95
92.5
100
5
6
2
3
0
1
12.5
15
5
7.5
0
2.5
/V/
97.5
As seen from table 4 above, the number of mistakes committed by the participants
decreased sharply. Therefore, it could be said that the knowledge of phonology, would help
teachers deal with their students’ pronunciation difficulties efficiently. The result of this
test proves that thorough studying and practicing enough, the pronunciation difficulties of
the Arab learners can be sharply reduced.
5.0 Conclusion
The research was instigated by the observation of students’ mispronunciation of some
English words that occur due to the non-existent consonants in Arabic alphabets. The Arab
learners are often confused with /b/ and /p/, /ŋ/ and /n/, /dʒ/ and /ʒ/, /v/ and /f/, /θ/ and /s/,
/z/ etc. It was noticed that many participants have problems with the pronunciation of
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monophthongs that have more than one way of pronunciation; It can be considered that the
mispronunciation of vowels are of minor importance if compared with the long vowels,
diphthongs, stress and intonation . However the researchers believe that it is a serious error
to mispronounce /servis/ as /servais/ or/meik/as /mæk/ that is also supported by Hassan in
his research regarding the pronunciation difficulties of a group of Sudanese students
(Hassan, 2014). The mispronunciation of the Arab students is due to the non-existent
consonant sounds as well as lack of the problematic phonemes in Arabic. Based on the
results of this study it can be concluded that many participants have problems in the
pronunciation of the voiceless bilabial /p/ and the voiced bilabial /b/. According to the
results, many students substitute /p/ with /b/ in words such as ‘path’, ‘cup’ and rarely
substitute /b/ with /p/. No wonder having a perfect example during the research as one of
the students come up with a sentence: I want to ‘bark’ (my car) here. Other consonant
sound contrasts which mispronounce are the dental fricative /θ/ and the alveolar fricative
/s/, so in words such as ‘thunder’, ‘faith’ the students replace /θ/ with /s/. They also have
problem with the voiced dental fricatives /d/ and /z/, so many of them pronounce /θ/ in the
place of /z/ for instance in words like ‘then’, ‘weather’ more consonant contrast sounds like
/f/ and /v/, /ʃ/ and /tʃ/ are mispronounced by most of the students, for example, in words like
‘seven’, ‘have’, they pronounce /f/ instead of /v/. Also the substitution of /ʃ/ and /tʃ/ is
evident in the pronunciations of many participants in words such as ‘furniture’, ‘teacher’.
Also, /dʒ/ and hard /ʒ/ are problematic for the students, so they sometimes pronounce /ʒ/
instead of / dʒ / as in ‘engagement’. Pronunciation problems such as the ones mentioned
above are linked to factors such as interference of the mother tongue on the second
language, also differences in the sound systems between Arabic English. Although the
Arab students always encounter the pronunciation difficulties especially with the nonexistent consonant sounds in Arabic alphabets, it is possible to overcome the errors by
extensive practice and dedication of the students and teachers. The post-test result of the
study proves that thorough study and practice can reduce the pronunciation difficulties of
the Arab learners.
Finally, it can be concluded that such pronunciation errors are associated to
factors such as the inconsistency of many English sounds, lack of practice and enthusiasm
of the students, the sound system differences etc. But it is achievable for the Arab
ESL/EFL learners to end up with almost error-free pronunciation with thorough practice. In
this case instructors play a vital role. It is believed that the more the teacher knows about
each of the languages dealt with, the more specifically he or she can help the students.
Therefore, to help Arab learners improve their pronunciation, English teachers are required
to conduct interfacing written drills in this area which may be regarded as a start in helping
with the pronunciation difficulties.
275
References
Ali, Ezzeldin Mahmoud.(2013). Pronunciation Problems: Acoustic analysis of the English
Vowels Produced by Sudanese Learners of English. International Journal of English and
Literature. Vol. 4(10), pp. 495-507.
Alfallaj, F. (2013). The Use of Linguistics in Teaching Pronunciation to Saudi Students.
Journal of Humanities. Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 134-143.
Al- Dilaimy. Hazim. (2012). Phonetic and Phonological Problems Encountered by Omani
Students of English. Journal of Al-Anbar University for Language and Literature; Vol. 3,
No. 6, pp. 236-252.
Ahmad, J.(2011). Pronunciation problems among Saudi Learners: A case study at the
preparatory year program, Najran University Saudi Arabia. Language in India, vol.11 Issue
7, p22.
Ahmad,J &Muhiburrahman, M. (2013). Teachers’ perspective on errors in English
consonant sounds by Saudi EFL learners. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences,
2320-9720.Vol1 (3).
E.M. Al-Saidat (2010). Phonological Analysis OF English Phonotactics: A Case Study of
Arab Learners of English. The Buckingham Journal of Language and Linguistics, 3, 121134.doi:10.5750/bjll.v3i0.26.
Kharma,N& Hajjaj,A.(1989). Errors in English among Arabic speakers: Analysis and
remedy, London: Longman.
Idriss, Elkhair Mohamad. (2014). Pronunciation Problems: A Case Study of English
Language Students at Sudan University of Science and Technology. English Language and
Literature Studies; Vol. 4, No. 4; 2014.
276
Reading Habits and Attitudes of Umskal Undergraduates
Shameem Ahmed
University Malaysia Sabah, [email protected]
Abstract
Effective reading is essential for success in acquiring a foreign language (Mikulecky 2008).
Students have to read a wide range of textbooks and related materials at the tertiary level.
Lack of adequate reading habit is, therefore, bound to impede students’ progress towards
mastery of a foreign language. This study investigated reading habits and attitudes on
reading of the undergraduate students attending ESL courses at a public university in
Malaysia. For data collection, a 35 item questionnaire based on the Adult Survey of
Reading Attitude (ASRA) from the work of Smith (1991) were designed and administered
on around 314 students. The questionnaire investigated the students’ general habit,
preferences, and attitude towards reading. This study was based on the following research
questions:
i) What are the reading habits of these undergraduate students?
ii) What are the attitudes of these students to reading as a useful language
learning skill?
iii) What are the reading preferences of these undergraduate students?
The research findings through qualitative analysis revealed that the undergraduate students
had an overall positive attitude towards reading in spite of their minimal enjoyment of it
and the resulting anxieties and difficulties they face. Based on the findings, few
recommendations were made to improve reading among those undergraduates.
Keywords: reading habits, attitude towards reading, reading preferences, ESL
Biodata: Mr. Ahmed has got an MA in English, MA ELT (Bangladesh) and has more than
fifteen years teaching experience. He has published a few articles. His interests include
research on materials development, popular fiction and ESL reading, Stylistics, and
Business English.
1.0 Introduction
Tindale (2003) defines reading as a complex cognitive task, seen variously as being
dependent on either: i. information processing/decoding skills (bottom-up skills); ii.
background knowledge (top- down skills); iii. an interaction between bottom-up and topdown skills or; iv. a complex mix of top- down and bottom-up skills combined with social
experiences (new literary approaches).
Reading plays a significant role in second/foreign language acquisition. It is much
neglected by adult learners due to the widespread use of internet and different electric
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gadgets. Reading is an essential skill for learning of English as a foreign or second
language. For the learners it is the most important skill to master in order to ensure success
not only in learning English, but also in learning any content class where reading in English
is required. With strengthen reading skill; learners will make greater progress and
development in all other areas of learning.
Indeed, there are various reasons that teachers want to getting students to read
English texts. Students need to read texts in English either for their careers, for study
purposes or simply for pleasure. Reading is useful for other purposes too as any exposure
to English is a positive thing for language students. At the very least, some of the language
sticks in their minds as part of the process of language acquisition, and, if the reading text
is especially interesting and engaging, acquisition is likely to be even more successful.
Moreover, reading texts also provide good models for English writing. Reading texts also
provide opportunities to study language: vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and the way
sentences, paragraphs and texts are constructed. Furthermore, good reading texts can
introduce interesting topics, stimulate discussion, excite imaginative responses and be the
springboard for well-rounded, fascinating lessons. In any way if teachers can enable and
motivate learners to read the task of teaching will be very much easier no doubt (Harmer,
1998).
Anderson (2012) opines that to make effective reading instruction, teachers can
view reading as the core language skills and they should build the development of all
language skills around effective reading instruction. This concept was represented in the
following model:
Placing reading at the core of language learning instruction
Grabe (2009) addresses that citizens of modern societies must be good readers to
be successful. Reading skills do not guarantee success for anyone, but success is much
harder to come by without being a skilled reader. The electric communication only
increases the need for effective reading skills and strategies as we try to cope up with the
large quantities of information made available to us. A person’s future opportunities for
success and prosperity will be even more connected with skilled reading abilities. It is
therefore an important societal responsibility to offer every person the opportunity to
become a skilled reader, and in many cases, this means becoming a skilled L2 reader.
Wallace (2003) defines the purpose of reading as three fold: reading for survival,
some kinds of reading in response to the environment; reading for learning as reading
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serves the wider role of extending our general knowledge of the world; and reading for
pleasure, an important by-product of reading for pleasure in any language is fluency.
Reading competence and reading ability are used interchangeably with diverse
definition, but all come from the same basic assumption that successful comprehension
emerges from the integrative interaction of derived text information and preexisting reader
knowledge. In other words, comprehension occurs when the reader extracts and integrates
various information from the text and combines it with what is already known. Each of
these operations is generally used to define reading competence, although from different
perspectives (Koda, 2008).
2.0 Background
English came into being in Malaysia during the seventeenth century when the British came
and colonized the country. Their presence gave the English language pre-eminence in the
government, business and social arenas. Since its independence, one of Malaysia’s national
developments was the increasing rate of literacy rate which became 50% in 1957 and rose
to 80% by 1995. There was a major paradigm shift when the government decided to make
Malay as the medium of instructions in schools and colleges rather than English and today
all Malaysian universities use Malay as the medium of instruction and English has become
the second language (Pandian, 1997a).
According to the 1982 National Literacy Survey carried out by the National
Library (cited in Inderjit, 2014), Malaysians only read an average of one to two pages a
year. Another survey by the same institute in 1996 showed the reading habits among
Malaysians have improved to two books per year. The last survey done in 2005 reported
that the reading habits among the Malaysians are unchanged since they read an average of
two books per year. A recent survey in 2006 by Malaysian National Library showed that
the literacy rate has slightly decreased to 92% from 93% in 1996.
In spite of the growing literacy rate, there was an emerging major problem needed
urgent attention in the form of the increasing number of “reading reluctancy”, i.e. “the
phenomenon of adults and adolescents who can read but choose not to read”. 80 percent of
students in Malaysian universities are in the category of reluctant reader both in Malay and
English. The major reasons for this problem are (a) a lack of positive role models in home
and schools, (b) peer influence, and (c) the limited availability of reading materials at home
and school. This serious issue was taken into consideration by the government with regards
to the current state of major advancements in communication and technology (Pandian,
1997a).
Pandian (1999) further contends that reading is rapidly as an activity is fast losing
its appeal as other forms and types of media overtake and predominate. Consequently, the
widespread use of different social medias like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus +
etc. in the internet, and smartphones and such other electric gadgets have tremendously
overshadowed reading as an activity not only as fun but also as a very important skill in
gaining command over a second or foreign language. Rather, these new and popular
Medias have not only outshined traditional modes of reading but have also cultivated a
general idea that reading is essentially tedious and uninteresting activity.
Mullai (2001) informs that roughly five key factors affect reading in the schools in
Malaysia: the education system, instructional methods, teacher beliefs and attitudes,
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instructional materials, and student attitude and mind-set. These factors have their focus on
the attainment of information or the product at the cost of process. This has led to the
expansion of a literacy that is more of a simplistic notion of literally knowing how to read
and write than beyond that.
In this context, Mustapha (1995, p. 28 as cited in Sidek 2011) mentions that at the
tertiary level, ‘many of the so-called “fluent” readers are still incapable of reading for
comprehension. The problems become more prominent when they have to read for
information and without the teacher close at hand to teach them’. According to Sidek
(2011), this indicates that the Malaysian students at the tertiary level are not self-regulated
readers, a perquisite for successful academic reading activities.
Pandian (1997a) suggests that parents and teachers have a crucial role to play as
role models for building reading habits for the adolescents. He recommends several efforts
to reduce reading reluctancy through readership promotion campaigns, book fairs, and
further research on reading habits.
Another important factor should be taken into consideration is that the learning
and teaching of ESL reading skills should be done in a more appropriate and practical way
suggested by Mullai (2001) and Sidek (2011). In this context, Mullai (2001) contends that
at the tertiary level reading is taught through discreet skills or sub-skills like skimming,
scanning, finding main points, generalizing, inferring, and many other ways. Although
many teachers may believe that these are reading strategies, Brown, Armbruster and Baker
(1985 as cited in Mullai, 2001) argue that metacognition plays a dynamic role in reading
and strategies, therefore, any effective reading must contain a discussion of metacognitive
knowledge, skills and their implications. The Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics
and Language Teaching (2010: 361) defines metacognitive knowledge or metacognition as
“… knowledge of the mental processes which are involved in different kinds of learning.
Learners are said to be capable of becoming aware of their own mental processes. This
includes recognizing which kinds of learning tasks cause difficulty, which approaches to
remembering information work better than others, and how to solve different kinds of
problems. Metacognitive knowledge is thought to influence the kinds of learning strategies
learners choose”. English (2011) adds that various cognitive strategies may help learners to
identify, change and manipulate the language. Metacognitive strategies employed by
learners to self-monitor, plan and execute their own learning style may help to a great
extent in ESL reading.
Guthrie & Wigfield (2000) suggest that the ESL students’ should be provided with
as much motivation in reading as possible and when they have a helpful teacher and a sense
of belonging in the classroom, they are more motivated for reading. Also in the form of
giving rewards and positive incentive for book reading may increase the time and effort in
book reading activities among these students.
Fatimah and Safiah (1987) suggest developing a positive attitude towards reading
among the undergraduates through: reading games, leisure reading programmes, and
sustained silent reading/study as part of the course activity along with other methods such
as identification, through rewards, through successful experiences, through adapting to
student’s individual needs in reading, and through habit building. They also advocate
activities like book fairs, book clubs and book promotions in various ways that the
universities could consider from time to time.
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2.1 Study Objectives
This study was based on the following research questions:
iv) What are the reading habits of these undergraduate students?
v) What are the attitudes of these students to reading as a useful language
learning skill?
vi) What are the reading preferences of these undergraduate students?
3.0 Literature Review
The Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching (2010: 258)
defines habit as “a pattern of behaviour that is regular and which has become almost
automatic as a result of repetition. The view of language learning as habit formation found
in behaviourism has been rejected by virtually all linguists and specialists in language
acquisition, but research continues into issues such as the mechanisms through which
automaticity develops in language learning”. It can be defined as the frequency of how
often a learner develops an activity that enables him/her to read materials fiction, stories,
magazines, newspapers etc. A good reading habit can enhance knowledge and the ability to
use the target language more effectively.
Grabe and Stoller (2013) comment that “Students bring different attitudes about
reading to the classroom; these attitudes influence students’ motivation to involve
themselves in reading lessons and related activities. Students’ attitude to reading are often
linked to previous experiences with reading, their exposure people who read and their
perceptions about the usefulness of reading. An understanding of the students’ attitudes can
help us structure our lessons and the feedback that we give to individual students”.
Baker (1988 as cited in Murray & Christison 2010:175) outlines some important
considerations on attitudes for language teachers: 1. Attitudes can be modified by
experience; 2. Once attitudes have been set, they tend to persist; 3. Attitudes are not
inherited; they are learned; 4. People are predisposed to act in certain ways depending on
their attitudes, but the connection between actions and attitudes is not solid; 5. Humans can
think about their attitudes, so they are cognitive; and also affective since our feelings are
attached to our attitudes; 6. Attitudes vary in continuum, so they vary in degree and
strength. A slight change in attitude may move it from negative to positive;
A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics (2008: 266) defines language attitudes
as “a term used in sociolinguistics for the feelings people have about their own language or
the language(s) of others. These may be positive or negative: someone may particularly
value a foreign language (e.g. because of its literary history) or think that a language is
especially difficult to learn (e.g. because the script is off-putting). … Knowing about
attitudes is an important aspect of evaluating the likely success of a language teaching
programme or a piece of language planning.”
Mokhtari and Sheorey (1994) led a study on reading habits of 85 under-graduate
students at a comprehensive midwestern university in USA. The results showed that these
students spent an unusually low amount of time on academic and even less amount of time
on non-academic reading. There was no significant difference between the high and low
proficiency that spent the amount of time spent in reading academic and non-academic
materials. In a similar kind of study, Mokhtari et.al (2009), conducted another research on
the impact of internet and television use on the reading habits and practices among 539
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undergraduate students at a midwestern university in USA. The result showed that majority
of the students enjoys using internet more than recreational reading, reading for academic
purposes, or watching television.
Akarsu and Dariyemez (2014) explored the reading habits of 76 undergraduate
students of English language and literature at Ataturk University, Turkey. The findings
showed that the reading habits of the students were affected by the media and technology
and majority of them stated that they often followed online information.
Akanda et.al (2013) investigated the reading habits of 260 postgraduate students at
Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. The survey findings showed that the students read books
and other materials with a sense of purpose and with specific target. Their main source of
reading is the textbooks and the amount of time spent on reading is minimal as they are
mainly affected by the emerging technologies, especially the internet, smartphones and
TV-based entertainment.
Jadal (2013) studied the reading habits of 100 B.Ed. students at University of
Solapur, India. The study found that majority of the students do not have adequate reading
habits and spend only one to two hours per day for reading. They generally read fictional
writing and such other materials than the textbooks. These students have showed
preference to general, case studies, economic and HR books and they least prefer reading in
global issues and business.
Bendriss and Golkowska (2011) piloted a study on the early reading habits and its
impact on the reading literacy of 72 Qatari undergraduate students. The research found
links between reading extensively and confidence in reading, between being read to and
forming the habit of free voluntary reading, and between parental recreational reading and
that of their children. A surprising discovery of the data showed that extensive reading was
encouraged more at home than at school.
A good number of researches have been done on the habit, attitudes, and interests
of graduate/undergraduate students at educational institutes in Malaysia.
Noorizah (2011) examined 52 post-graduate students at UKM and their reading
habits and preferences. She found that the students read various types of reading materials,
have different reasons for reading as well as language preference in reading. Students
primarily prefer online reading materials. In a similar vein, Nor Shahriza and Amelia
(2007) led a correlation study between the reading habits and attitudes vs. gender and
academic programme among 127 undergraduate students at International Islamic
University Malaysia. The study found that these undergraduates tend to use the web sites in
an ever increasing number for important reading source. The respondents’ attitude towards
reading is positive and they agree that reading is an enjoyable activity.
Noriah and Suhaidi (2009) investigated the reading habits and attitudes of 300
Part One Diploma students at MARA University of Technology Malaysia, Johor. They
found that majority of the students have a positive attitude towards reading, but are
reluctant readers of English materials or resources related to only to their studies. Leele and
Emily (2003) led a similar study on reading attitudes of 250 students at University
Technology Mara, Penang. The Students were aware of the importance of reading but it
was not a priority among them. Their reading attitudes in English are mainly intensive and
due to lack of time they couldn’t manage to read extensively.
Cheang et. al. (2005) conducted a study on reading habits of 402 undergraduate
students at University Technology MARA, Perlis. The finding showed that majority of the
students read newspapers and family background played a very important role in
282
encouraging students to read. It was also found in the study that students with higher
MUET bands tend to read more reading materials than students with lower MUET bands.
Subashini and Balakrishnan (2013) conducted a survey on the reading habits and
attitudes of 119 students in a Malaysian Polytechnic. The result revealed that these students
have low interest in reading and they do not enjoy reading as much as they prefer doing
other technology related activities.
The current study was undertaken to estimate these undergraduate students’
habits, attitudes and preference towards ESL reading in a Malaysian context. While data
were analyzed and interpreted, the findings of the above reviewed studied both in Malaysia
and other countries were taken into consideration and cross-checked to gauge out various
aspects of this current study to get a better picture and understanding.
4.0 Methodology
This study was conducted and based on quantitative and qualitative approach of data
analysis. Actually, the data were analysed mainly in a qualitative way with an interpretive
approach.
Qualitative research is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e., events
relating to or involving quality or kind. For instance, while investigating the reasons for
human behaviour, we tend to deal with research on motivation. This type of research
divulge into discovering the underlying motives and desires using in-depth interviews for
this purpose. Researches such as attitude and opinion are designed to find out how people
feel or what they think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research.
Qualitative research is specifically plays significant role in the behavioural sciences where
the objective is to discover the underlining motives of human behaviour. This type of
research analyses the various factors which motivates people to behave in a particular
manner or which make people like or dislike a particular thing (Kumar, 2008, p.8).
The questionnaire survey is one of the most common methods of data collection
on attitudes and opinions from a large group of participation. It has been used to investigate
a wide variety of questions in L2 research. Questionnaires allow researchers to gather
information that learners are able to report about themselves that is typically not available
from production data alone. One of the primary advantages of using questionnaires is that,
apart from being economical and practical, they can in many cases bring about longitudinal
information from learners in a short period of time. Questionnaires can also collect
comparable information from a number of respondents. In addition, questionnaires can be
administered in many forms, such as via e-mail, by phone, through mail-in-forms, as well
as in person, allowing the researcher a greater degree of flexibility in the data collecting
process. Based on the structure, questionnaires can provide both qualitative insights and
quantifiable data, and thus are very flexible for use in a range of research (Macky & Gass,
2005).
According to Dörnyei & Taguchi (2010), questionnaires are one of the most
common methods of data collection in L2 research. Questionnaires are very popular since
they are easy to construct, extremely versatile, capable of gathering a large amount of
information quickly in such a way that is readily processable. According to Brown, (2001,
p. 6, cited in Macky & Gass, 2005), “Questionnaires are any written instruments that
present respondents with a series of questions or statements to which they are to react
283
either by writing out their answers or selecting from among existing answers.” Brown
(2001, p. 2, cited in McKay, 2006) opines that language surveys are any studies “that
gather data on the characteristics and views of informants about the nature of language or
language learning through the use of oral interviews or written questionnaires”.
Dornyei (2003, cited in McKay 2006) points out that survey can provide three
types of information: (i) factual information; (ii) behavioural information; and (iii)
attitudinal information. Surveys also act as a very useful tool for researchers to gather a
good deal of information in a short time with little cost. As a result, surveys are a
particularly effective way for teachers to find out more about the background, habits, and
preferences of their students and this kind of information can be used in curriculum
development.
This current study employed a questionnaire to collect data on students’ points of
view regarding their habits and attitude towards reading while learning English as a
second/foreign language at the university. The data of this study were collected through a
questionnaire survey. The questionnaire survey method was preferred since this is suitable
for practicality; data is easily measurable; easily accessible and flexible; and it is very
economical, quick and effective. While preparing the questionnaire, special care was given
to ensure standard and quality of the questions as well as the reliability, clarity, practicality
and administerability of the instruments.
For this study, a semi-structured interview was also employed along with the
questionnaire, since it was convenient for the interviewees to express their views and
feelings. In this sense, the advantage of this type of interview is commonly acknowledged.
In fact, this approach can be very effective in encouraging the interviewees to respond
freely and does not restrict or constraint their responses. Nunan (1992:150) states that the
semi-structured interview, mainly, “… gives the interviewee a degree of power and control
over the course of the interview” and “the interviewer a great deal of flexibility”. It was
designed in order to obtain richer data, personalized responses, and further clarification
regarding students’ responses provided in the questionnaire.
Each interview took approximately 5-10 minutes. They were held before and after
classes. The interviewed students were picked randomly from each section during Semester
2 Session 2013-2014, Semester 1 and 2 Session 2014-2015. With respect to recording what
is being said, the main options are note-taking and questionnaire filling with some
advantages and disadvantages. Note-taking is problematic as it requires that everything is
written down quickly. As a solution, it was decided to take notes, using abbreviations and
key words. As Nunan (1992) acknowledges, pen questions result in richer data but are
much difficult to quantify. He suggests, however, to conduct “key word analysis”. This
consists in grouping the responses according to categories that can be noted through all the
interviews. According to McDonough & McDonough (1997:186) “the more open ended,
exploratory and ethnographic interviews … may be analysed qualitatively by searching for
themes, by looking for patterns, by looking for interpretations which are consistent with all
the information revealed in the interview.” The raw data gathered from the questionnaire,
and the semi-structured interview with the students and their comments were noted, and
analysed by means of descriptive statistics such as tables, frequencies and percentages.
284
4.1 Material
This study produced qualitative and quantitative data through questionnaire. The data was
analyzed mainly qualitatively through interpretive approach. As Tavakoli (2012: 505)
contends “qualitative research is fundamentally interpretive, which means that the research
outcome is ultimately the product of the researcher’s subjective interpretation of the data.
Several alternative interpretations are possible for each data set, and because qualitative
studies utilize relatively limited standardized instrumentation or analytical procedures, in
the end it is the researcher who will choose from them. The researcher is essentially the
main measurement device in the study. Accordingly, in qualitative research, the
researcher’s own values, personal history, and position on characteristics such as gender,
culture, class, and age become integral part of the inquiry.”
Averages were calculated from a scale of 5-1 (i.e. 5=Strongly Agree, 4=Agree,
3=Uncertain, 2=Disagree, 1= Strongly Disagree). The survey questionnaire consisted of 35
items of questions. The first six close-ended questions were set to measure the learners’
various reading habits and preferences in English. Questions from number 7 to 35 are
direct questions regarding the learners’ attitudes and preferences in reading. A total of 330
questionnaires were distributed among the undergraduate students during the Semester 2
Session 2013-2014, Semester 1 and 2 Session 2014-2015 at University Malaysia Sabah,
KAL, Labuan, Malaysia. A number of 16 questionnaires were rejected due to incomplete
and incorrect responses.
4.2 Limitations
This study is limited to one public university in Labuan, Malaysia, therefore, provides only
a partial picture of the frame of mind of adult learners’ attitude towards learning English as
a non-major subject. It is assumed that students answered the questions honestly and
sincerely. This current study was done with the hope that a much comprehensive research
would be undertaken in the future to shade more light in this specific area.
4.3 The Participants
A total number of 314 students (male 62 and female 252) from Universiti Malaysia Sabah,
Labuan International Campus, participated in the study. They were 1 st and 2nd year students
aged around 19-25 years (Malay 253 and Chinese/International 61). Most of them have
studied English language around 10 years. Out of these 314 students, 253 took MUET
(Malaysian University English Test) test and their average bands were: 17 got band 1; 225
got band 2; 7 got band 3; and 4 got band 4. The remaining 61 students had no such score as
they were international students who came mainly from mainland China. The participating
undergraduate learners at the Labuan International Campus were studying in Business and
Information Technology courses majoring in International Finance, International
Marketing, International and Offshore Banking, International Financial Economics, Islamic
Finance, Multimedia Technology and E-Commerce etc.
285
4.4 Instrument
This study employed a questionnaire to collect data on the points of views of students
about their reading habits and attitudes towards reading. The survey questionnaire was
based on the Adult Survey of Reading Attitude (ASRA) from the work of Smith (1991)
with some minor modification. The purpose of this study was to analyses the undergraduate
students’ habits and attitude towards reading as an essential skills in learning English
taught at the tertiary level. For this purpose, a 35 items questionnaire was set. The
participants of the study were 314 students: 62 males (19.7%) and 252 females (80.3%).
The questionnaire was composed of three sections. The first section requested
background information such as age, gender, nationality, educational background, number
of years studying English, and MUET band score. The second section of the questionnaire
consisted of 6 items mainly close-ended questions related to the participants various
reading habits and preferences. The third section consisted of 29 items using a 5-1 likert
scale (11 items on activity of reading, 9 items on enjoyment of reading, and 9 items on
anxiety and difficulty in reading) to measure out the students’ attitudes and preferences
towards reading.
4.5 Data Analysis
This study produced qualitative and quantitative data through questionnaires. Averages
were calculated from a scale of 5-1 (5=Strongly Agree, 4=Agree, 3=Uncertain, 2=Disagree,
1= Strongly Disagree) and also through frequencies and percentage in the questionnaires
for each item to describe the overall picture of how the students expressed their habits,
preferences and attitudes towards reading while learning English as a second/foreign
language.
5.0 Findings and Discussions
5.1 Reading Habits and Preferences
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology (2015: 479) habit means “a well-learned
behaviour or automatic sequence of behaviours that is relatively situation specific and over
time has become motorically reflexive and independent of motivational or cognitive
influence—that is, it is performed with little or no conscious intent.”
APA Dictionary of Psychology defines preference as “1. in conditioning, the
probability of occurrence of one of two or more concurrently available responses, usually
expressed as either a relative frequency (compared to the frequency of all the measured
responses) or a ratio. 2. more generally, the act of choosing one alternative over others”
(2015: 821).
Findings on reading habits of the undergraduates were analyzed through their
leisure time activities, amount of time spent on reading per day, types of reading materials
read, hours spent on reading e-books and e-magazines per day and frequency of reading a
book/novel last year.
286
Leisure time activities. Table 1 illustrates the distribution of five types of spare
time activities with an option, i.e. computer games, surf net, watch television, sports, read
and others. Majority of the students surf net (38.9). This is followed by watch television
(17.2), sports (16.6), computer games (14.9), reading (12.4). The results pointed out that
these students mostly use internet and watch television more rather that they read.
Table 1. Leisure time activities
Leisure time
No. of
Percentage
activities
respondents
(%)
surf net
122
38.9
watch television
54
17.2
sports
52
16.6
computer games
47
14.9
reading
39
12.4
Amount of time spent on reading per day. Table 2. Shows the distribution of amount of
time spent on reading per day by these students.
Table 2. Amount of time spent on reading per day
Hours
No. of
Percentage
respondents
(%)
Less than 1 hour
42
13.4
1 to 2 hours
184
58.6
2 to 3 hours
52
16.6
3 to 4 hours
21
6.7
More than 4 hours
15
4.8
Table 2 shows the distribution of amount of time spent on reading per day by the
respondents. The result indicates that these undergraduate students spent a substantial
amount of time on reading per day. A total of 58.6% of the students read between one to
two hours per day. This result is somewhat expected due to academic activities that require
a considerable amount of reading time in order to perform academically. However, the
amount of time spent on reading should be attributed to reading academic books rather than
other materials such as newspapers or fictions. The result is slightly higher than the study
conducted by Mokhtari and Sheorey (1994) on university in the USA, where the average
reading time per week was 4.75 hours.
Table 3. Types of reading materials read
Reading material
No. of
Percentage
respondents
(%)
Online e-books and
107
34.1
journals etc.
Textbooks
57
18.2
Comics
54
17.2
Magazines
52
16.6
Newspapers
44
14.0
287
Types of reading materials. Table 3 shows the distribution of types of reading
materials used by the respondents per day. The result indicates that these undergraduate
students used various types of reading materials for reading purposes per day. A total of
34.1% of the students read online e-books and journals etc. This is followed by textbooks
(18.2%), comics (17.2%), magazines (16.6%), and newspapers (14.0%). The results
pointed out that these students mostly use online materials that they read.
Preferred language for reading. Table 4 shows the distribution of the respondents
preferred language used while engaged in reading per day. This study showed that majority
of the students (62.7%) prefer to read in Malay rather than in any other languages. This fact
is quite understandable since majority of the respondents are native (80.5%) speakers and
the medium of instruction is Malay. The following 18.8% use Chinese and English was
used by 18.5% of the respondents while using various reading materials per day.
Table 4. Preferred language for reading
Language
No. of
Percentage
respondents
(%)
Malay
197
62.7
Chinese
59
18.8
English
58
18.5
Others
0
0.0
Hours spent on surfing internet. Table 5 shows the distribution of amount of time spent on
surfing internet per day by the respondents. This study showed that majority of the
undergraduates spent a significant amount of time surfing the internet per day. A total of
57.6% use internet between one to two hours per day, meanwhile 10.8% surf the internet
less than one hour, 20.4% use it two to three hours, and 11.2% spent three to four hours per
day. An examination of this result showed that the findings were quite similar to the study
conducted by Mokhtari et.al (2009) on a university in the USA, where a majority of the
students enjoys using internet more than recreational reading, reading for academic
purposes, or watching television.
Table 5. Hours spent on surfing internet
Surfing internet
No. of
Percentage
respondents
(%)
Less than 1 hour
34
10.8
1 to 2 hours
181
57.6
2 to 3 hours
64
20.4
3 to 4 hours
35
11.2
Frequency of reading annually. Table 6 shows the frequency or the number of
books students have read during the last year (at the point of time of the questionnaire
filling and interview). This study showed a majority of responding in the negative as to
whether they had read a book/novel last year. A total of 70.4% declined that they had read
a book or novel last year, and only 29.6% affirmed that they had read one or more book last
year. This result showed Pandian’s (1997b) thesis of ‘reluctant reader’ in Malay and in
288
English and further confirmed that the average undergraduate students are perceived as
such.
Table 6. Frequency of reading book/novel in year
Frequency of reading
No. of
Percentage
book/novel
respondents
(%)
Yes
93
29.6
No
221
70.4
5.2 Reading Attitudes
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, (2015) attitude means, “a relatively
enduring and general evaluation of an object, person, group, issue, or concept on a
dimension ranging from negative to positive. Attitudes provide summary evaluations of
target objects and are often assumed to be derived from specific beliefs, emotions, and past
behaviours associated with those objects.”
For the reading attitudes of the UMSKAL undergraduates, a 29 items
questionnaire was used following the Adult Survey of Reading Attitude (ASRA) from the
work of Smith (1991) and administered on 314 undergraduate students at UMSKAL. These
29 items are used with a 5-1 likert scale of which 11 items are on activity of reading, 9
items on enjoyment of reading, and 9 items on anxiety and difficulty in reading to measure
out the students’ attitudes and preferences towards reading. Averages were calculated from
a scale of 5-1 (i.e. 5=Strongly Agree, 4=Agree, 3=Uncertain, 2=Disagree, 1= Strongly
Disagree).
Table 7. Activity of reading
N
o
QUESTION
3.
I can read but I don’t understand
what I’ve read.
There are better ways to learn new
things than by reading a book.
I am a good reader.
4.
When I am at home I read a lot.
5.
I want to have more books of my
own.
I try very hard, but I just can’t read
very well.
My friends and I often discuss the
books we have read.
It is easier for me to understand
what I am reading if pictures, charts,
and diagrams are included.
When I read I usually get tired and
sleepy.
1.
2.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Strongly
Agree
5
62
19.7%
56
17.8%
45
14.3%
47
14.9%
58
18.5%
62
19.7%
52
16.6%
136
43.3%
Agree
Uncertain
Disagree
4
51
16.2%
73
23.2%
39
12.4%
65
20.7%
46
14.6%
69
21.9%
67
21.3%
87
27.7%
3
69
21.9%
82
26.1%
72
22.9%
78
24.8%
71
22.6%
73
23.2%
88
28.0%
43
13.7%
2
65
20.7%
51
16.2%
56
17.8%
59
18.8%
43
13.7%
52
16.6%
45
14.3%
33
10.5%
Strongly
Disagree
1
67
21.3%
52
16.6%
102
32.5%
65
20.7%
96
30.6%
58
18.5%
62
19.5%
15
4.8%
67
21.3%
63
20.0%
79
25.2%
57
18.2%
48
15.3%
289
1
0.
1
1.
I have a lot in common with people
who are poor readers.
I spend a lot of my spare time
reading.
89
28.3%
45
14.3%
62
19.7%
48
15.3%
59
18.8%
78
24.8%
53
16.9%
81
25.8%
51
16.2%
62
19.7%
In table 7, question 1 to 11 shows varied types of reading activities and the
respondents’ attitude towards them. An average of 22.9% i.e. 72 respondents have shown
their uncertain frame of minds which indicate that these undergraduate students were not
sure about their involvement in various types of reading activities in the past and present.
An average of 20.1% i.e. 62 respondents agreed to take part in various types of reading
activities whereas an average of 18.4% disagreed i.e. 57 respondents were not into various
types of reading activities at home or in the academic institutions in the past or in the
present. In response to question 3, an average of 13.4% i.e. 42 respondents answered in a
positive attitude, whereas an average of 25.2% i.e. 79 respondents answered in a negative
attitude; while 22.9% i.e. 72 respondents showed uncertainty that borders on negative
involvement in various types of reading activities. In a similar type of question 11, an
average of 14.8% i.e. 46 respondents agreed that they spend a lot of their spare time
reading, whereas 22.8% i.e. 71 respondents disagreed; while 24.8% i.e. 78 respondents
expressed their uncertainty towards spending a good amount of their spare time in reading.
This results shows that reading is not so favourite activities among these undergraduate
students.
Table 8. Enjoyment of reading
No.
Agree
Uncertain
Disagree
Reading is one of the best ways for
me to learn things.
Reading is one of my favorite
activities.
Strongly
Agree
5
56
17.8%
34
10.8%
4
55
17.5%
44
14.0%
3
93
29.6%
89
28.3%
2
67
21.3%
68
21.7%
Strongly
Disagree
1
43
13.7%
79
25.2%
I read when I have the time to enjoy
it.
I get a lot of enjoyment from
reading.
53
16.9%
42
13.4%
73
23.2%
56
17.8%
84
26.8%
87
27.7%
46
14.6%
61
19.4%
58
18.5%
68
21.7%
16.
I like going to the library for books.
17.
When I read an interesting book,
story, or article I like to tell my
friends about it.
Reading is one of the most
interesting things which I do.
I’m the kind of person who enjoys a
good book.
I enjoy receiving books as gifts.
63
20.0%
97
30.9%
52
16.6%
69
21.9%
56
17.8%
64
20.4%
61
19.4%
33
10.5%
82
26.1%
51
16.2%
51
16.2%
50
15.9%
48
15.3%
58
18.5%
58
18.5%
72
22.9%
97
30.9%
94
29.9%
69
21.9%
66
21.0%
67
21.3%
57
17.8%
42
13.4%
45
14.3%
68
21.7%
12.
13.
14.
15.
18.
19.
20.
QUESTION
290
In table 8, question 12 to 20 shows the respondents’ enjoyment of varied types of
reading activities. An average of 25.9% i.e. 81 respondents have shown their uncertainty
that is an indication that these undergraduate students were not in the frame of mind of
enjoyment of various types of reading activities in the past and present. An average of
18.2% i.e. 56 respondents agreed that they did take part in various types of reading
activities and enjoyed them whereas an average of 18.8% disagreed i.e. 58 respondents did
not enjoy any types of reading activities at home or in the academic institutions in the past
or in the present. In response to question 12, an average of 12.4% i.e. 39 respondents
answered positively, whereas an average of 23.5% i.e. 73 respondents answered negatively;
while 28.3% i.e. 89 respondents were uncertain whether or not reading were their favourite
activities in the past or the present. In a similar type of question 14, an average of 15.6%
i.e. 49 respondents agreed that they enjoy reading, whereas 20.6% i.e. 64 respondents
disagreed; while 27.7% i.e. 87 respondents were uncertain towards enjoyment from
reading. In another question 17, an average of 17.4% i.e. 54 respondents agreed, whereas
an average of 17.2% i.e. 54 respondents disagreed; while 30.9% i.e. 97 respondents were
uncertain whether or not reading were their one of the most interesting activities in the past
or the present. This slightly negative attitude towards enjoyment of reading is an indication
of these undergraduate students being perceived as ‘reluctant reader’ in Malay and in
English as hypothesized by Pandian (1997b).
Table 9. Anxiety and difficulty in reading
NO.
QUESTION
21.
I need a lot of help in reading.
22.
I get upset when I think about
having to read.
I often feel anxious when I have a
lot of reading to do.
I get nervous if I have to read a lot
of information for my job or for
some social activity.
Encountering unfamiliar words is
the hardest part of reading.
23.
24.
25.
26.
I worry a lot about my reading.
27.
I try to avoid reading because it
makes me feel anxious.
I have trouble understanding what I
read.
I’m afraid that people may find out
what a poor reader I am.
28.
29.
Strongly
Agree
5
117
37.3%
62
19.7%
112
35.7%
94
29.9%
Agree
Uncertain
Disagree
4
59
18.8%
65
20.7%
73
23.2%
76
24.2%
3
54
17.2%
72
22.9%
42
13.4%
62
19.7%
2
45
14.3%
56
17.8%
37
11.8%
35
11.1%
Strongly
Disagree
1
39
12.4%
59
18.8%
50
15.9%
47
14.9%
135
42.9%
71
22.6%
47
14.9%
20
6.4%
41
13.0%
117
37.3%
97
30.9%
64
20.4%
52
16.6%
77
24.5%
69
21.9%
69
21.9%
57
18.2%
58
18.5%
47
14.9%
82
26.1%
108
34.4%
35
11.1%
49
15.6%
56
17.8%
50
15.9%
27
8.6%
52
16.6%
43
13.7%
47
14.9%
In Table 9 question 21 to 29 shows the respondents’ anxiety and difficulty in
varied types of reading activities. An average of 20.2% i.e. 63 respondents have shown
uncertainty regarding these undergraduate students level of anxiety and difficulty in
various types of reading activities in the past and present. An average of 25.9% i.e. 81
291
respondents agreed whereas an average of 13.9% i.e. 43 respondents disagreed that they
had anxiety and difficulties in various types of reading activities at home or in the
academic institutions in the past or in the present. In response to question 23, an average of
29.5% i.e. 92 respondents answered positively, whereas an average of 13.9% i.e. 43
respondents answered negatively; while 13.4% i.e. 42 respondents were uncertain whether
or not they were anxious while they had to do a lot of reading in the past or the present. In a
similar type of question 26, an average of 30.9% i.e. 97 respondents agreed, whereas 9.9%
i.e. 31 respondents disagreed; while 18.5% i.e. 58 respondents were uncertain whether or
not they worried a lot about reading. In another question 27, an average of 26.4% i.e. 83
respondents agreed, whereas an average of 16.1% i.e. 50 respondents disagreed; while
14.9% i.e. 47 respondents were uncertain whether or not they tried to avoid reading
because it made them feel anxious. In table 8, the finding showed that these undergraduate
students did enjoy reading although not to a great extent (an average of 18.2% liking to
18.8% disliking). This is reflected in the resulting anxieties and difficulties in reading
found from the outcomes in table 9.
Table 10. Overall percentage of reading attitudes
NO.
Variables
1.
Activity of reading
2.
Enjoyment of reading
3.
Anxiety and difficulty in reading
Agree
Uncertain
Disagree
125
40.2%
113
36.4%
162
51.8%
72
22.9%
81
25.9%
63
20.2%
115
36.8%
117
37.5%
87
27.8%
In Table 10, we get an overall picture of the respondents’ attitudes towards reading in terms
of the participants’ activity in reading, enjoyment of reading, and their anxiety and
difficulty in reading.
While engaged in various types of reading activities, 40.2% i.e. 125 respondents answered
in a positive way, whereas 36.8% i.e. 115 respondents answered negatively, and 22.9% i.e.
72 respondents were uncertain about their involvements in such types of activities. With
response to the enjoyment of reading, 36.4% i.e. 113 respondents agreed, whereas a
marginal 37.5% i.e. 117 respondents disagreed while 25.9% i.e. 81 respondents were
uncertain about their enjoyment of such activities. The cumulative effects of the anxieties
and difficulties of reading among these participants were evident as 51.8% i.e. 162
respondents agreed, whereas 27.8% i.e. 87 respondents disagreed, while 20.2% i.e. 63
respondents were uncertain. From the above findings we may conclude that these
undergraduate students’ involvement into various types of reading activities bordered on
the negative as they enjoyed it rather nominally and due to that they faced anxieties and
difficulties while engaged in reading academic or non-academic materials.
292
If that is an indication, the following selected comments made by the respondents
reflect an overall positive frame of mind of these undergraduate students in spite of their
proper lack of practice and enjoyment of reading.
“I think reading is crucial in life because it is use worldwide”.
“Reading is important but I’m lazy to read because it’s boring”.
“Reading is like a journey. The more you read, the more knowledge you get”.
“I like reading in English because it will help me to be a knowledgeable person and help
me to study another subject”.
“Reading in English is boring, I tend to listening in English”.
“Reading in English is interesting, but reading in Chinese is more interesting for me”.
“Reading is the best action for me to make me understand a lot of knowledge in world. I
love to read in Malay, Arab and English because it is to make me think matured”.
“Reading is very important in our daily life. It can help me improve the comprehension of
articles and broaden my horizon. It is really useful to get more information in this modern
time”.
“I feel that reading in English is very important in order to success in life”.
“To be honest, I’m not really into reading. But its not a bad thing, so in the positive way,
reading can help me improve my knowledge and add more my vocabulary. No pain, no
gain”.
“I like to read in English. Sometimes depends on my mood”.
“Not good enough in English? READ more”.
6.0 Implications of the Analysis
This study was undertaken with a view to measure out the reading habits and
attitudes of undergraduate students at a public university in Malaysia. From the first six
open-ended questions, it was found that majority of the students use internet and watch
television rather than read during spare time. These students’ spent an average of 1-2 hours
per day reading academic books rather than using other recreational reading materials such
as newspapers, fictions etc. The study also showed that the materials used per day by these
students were mostly online materials, and the majority of students prefer to read in Malay
and only 18.5% students use English reading materials. From this study it was also found
that a majority of students spent a significant amount of time in surfing internet. This
finding corroborate with other studies done by Mokhtari et.al (2009), Pandian (1999),
Subashini and Balakrishnan (2013). While this phenomenon is quite common and
alarming from the point of view for these learners, Iftanti (2015) in her study of student’s
good reading habits contends that internet could be a contributory factor in establishment
of ESL students’ good English reading habits since the electronic media have nearly
limitless access to searchable information and e-books and such other materials. In
response to the reading in a year year, majority of the respondents answered in the negative
and this indicates that these students on average are reluctant ESL readers.
In response to their attitudes the findings showed that reading was not so favourite
among these undergraduates; their enjoyment of it was nominal, and therefore, they face
anxiety and difficulties in ESL reading activities. Yet one quite contradictory fact remains
to be taken into account here is that even though the participants’ reading habits,
293
preferences and the enjoyment of it were not so favourable and encouraging, yet their
overall attitude towards reading is quite positive as have been evidenced from students’
comment from the interview. The overall picture from this study shows that these
undergraduate students are lacking in proper/appropriate practice of reading. This is a
common phenomenon in the educational institutes throughout the country. They face
difficulty with the other three skills, namely, speaking, listening and writing due to this
lack of proper reading habits which ultimately downgrade their overall level of proficiency
in English.
7.0 Conclusion and Recommendations
This current study was initiated with a view to discern the prevailing condition of reading
habits and attitudes of the undergraduate students at a public university in Malaysia.
Findings from this study showed that in spite of an overall positive attitude towards
reading, these students seriously lack a proper reading habit and practice both in and
outside the classroom, i.e. intensive and extensive reading. This lack of appropriate and
adequate practice of reading among the undergraduates were ingrained from a very early
stage due to many socio-cultural, socio-economic and socio psychological factors as had
been substantiated by Pandian (1997a, 1997b).
We as language teachers have to play vital and manifold roles (such as role model,
facilitator/councillor, motivator etc.) in order to motivate and instill interests for both
intensive and extensive reading in our students. Both parents and the community also have
their own role to play in this situation. To dispel the label ‘reluctant readers’, we have to
develop a positive attitude towards reading among these students with activities replete
with fun and a means of lifelong learning. Various types of promotional activities like book
clubs, book fairs and book promotions could be advocated. Also, a certain amount of time
per week can be allocated for the students and teachers to read for pleasure in the
classroom. Furthermore, to facilitate and further improve the ESL reading skills among the
students, an amalgamation of appropriate teaching approaches or methodologies can be
adapted and practiced in the reading classrooms.
This current study was confined to find out the prevailing reading habits and
attitudes of these students at the tertiary level. It is a much bigger picture that deserves
more comprehensive and thorough look for further development. Moreover, the findings of
this study were limited to one particular public university in Labuan, Malaysia only.
Supplementary studies could be done to focus on various other factors that encumber and
influence these tertiary level students’ lack of proper reading habits and ways to improve
their enjoyment and involvement in reading as a whole. Teachers, educators and authorities
should take into account this prevailing condition of tertiary level students’ reluctancy in
reading that is so common and familiar in educational institutes throughout Malaysia and
come up with some significant and effective solution to it.
Concerted efforts from teachers, parents and the community have to play a more
active role in propagating and encouraging the habit of reading among the younger
generations. Keeping pace with the rapid advancements and changes in society, economy,
and technology is going to be a great challenge for all in 21 st century. In this context
Pandian (1999) anticipates that “While Malaysia is trying to propel the people into the
front-line of the global information age, it is important that to ensure that the education that
294
students experience will enable them to negotiate activity with a variety of texts in print,
visual and electric forms. It is also essential that the family, the school and the wider
community share a common responsibility for preparing young people for a life in which
mediated knowledge, information and entertainment will increasingly play a major role in
shaping their ideas, beliefs, values, choices and decisions”.
Acknowledgement: The researcher expresses profound thankfulness for the photocopying
support from PPIB, KAL and to the participating students for their time and invaluable
comments/suggestions related to this study.
295
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Remarks On Career Perspectives For BA German
Graduates From Universiti Putra Malaysia (The 2009 &
2010 Graduates)
T. Schaar1, N. Ogasa2, L. H. Ang3
1
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
3
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
th
In January 2015, the 10 batch of BA German students graduated from Universiti Putra
Malaysia (UPM) and joined the changing and challenging Malaysian labor market. Since
its introduction, 164 Malaysian undergraduates have completed the BA German
programme, a combination of language instruction, philological and market-oriented
German courses. A survey into the professional development of BA German students since
their graduation (the first batch graduated in 2004) revealed that the majority of graduates
had no problems in finding employment in the corporate or education sector shortly after
finishing their studies. Many have changed their career paths several times in order to gain
higher incomes, face greater challenges and enjoy better career opportunities. Some
graduates also became teachers of German or other languages (Bahasa Malaysia, English,
and Mandarin) as well as for science subjects at primary and residential schools, colleges
and universities. Furthermore, several opted for Master’s degrees and PhD’s. The tracer
study project aimed to provide more comprehensive data on the professional development
of BA German graduates from UPM, which allowed the conclusion that studying BA
German at UPM combined with a business-related minor subject is a proven formula for a
successful and quick entry into the Malaysian job market.
Keywords: BA German curriculum, Malaysia Job Market, Professional Development of
UPM Graduates, Tracer Study, UPM
1.0
Introduction
1.1
Language Programmes and Career Perspectives in Malaysia
Since language skills have been recognized as a vital factor for the nation’s identitybuilding and as a major contributor to the country’s economy, the study of languages plays
an important role in the Malaysian education system. Departments of Malay, English and
third languages were set up at public and private institutions of higher learning throughout
Malaysia. A number of Asian and European languages such as Arabic, Japanese, French
and German were introduced in the universities to enable Malaysians to compete on a
global scale.
300
A report titled “Future Direction of Language Education in Malaysia” (2010)
prepared by a study committee from ten Malaysian universities headed by Prof. Datin Dr.
Hajibah Osman (Dean of the UiTM Language Academy) on behalf of the Ministry of
Higher Education compiled and examined a comprehensive database of Languages-,
Linguistics- and Literature-programmes offered at different universities in Malaysia. The
study aimed to provide the ministry and the public with an overview of the subjects
encompassing Malay (as the national language), English (as the second language), and
other languages. It reviewed the status of language programmes offered at Malaysian
universities and explored future directions for these programmes. One of the specific
objectives also was to “trace the success of these programmes in terms of demands and
employability”. The data of unpublished tracer studies from UM and UPM were analysed
to examine the employability of Language graduates.
The tracer study of 107 graduates (2007/2008) from the Faculty of Languages and
Linguistics (Universiti Malaya) reported that 52.3% of the total number of graduates found
employment in permanent positions or on temporary or contract basis within four months
of graduation. The employment rate of the students who majored in Chinese, Malay, Tamil,
Spanish and Japanese was more than 50%, while the employment rate for graduates who
majored in other foreign languages was considerably lower – English 44%, Arabic 38%,
French 38% and German 32%. Graduates of Languages from UM work in teaching
positions (56.1%), in sales and marketing (14.04%). About 12 % are employed in executive
and administrative positions in the private sector, and 7% work in editorial fields. UPM
reported “a high percentage of employment rate” in its 2008-survey: 88.7% of graduates
of Malay Language, 93% of graduates of English, 81.8% of graduates of English Literature
and 77.5% of graduates of foreign languages were employed less than three months after
graduation. The types of employment secured by the graduates however were not included
in the UPM tracer study, although it said that UPM-Language Majors found jobs in “almost
similar sectors” as the UM-graduates.
1.2 German Language in Malaysia (a few remarks)
In 2015, approximately 8.500 Malaysians studied the German language at the following
institutions in Malaysia: the Goethe-Institut Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur (770 students), the
German-Malaysian-Society in Penang, at 30 secondary schools (3.600 students) and at 17
public and private universities (3.900 students). Most language programmes at schools and
academic institutions offer German language at the levels A1/A2. (Beginner/Elementary,
according to definitions by the Common European Framework of Reference for
Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment – CEFR). The A-Level-German programmes
at International Education College (INTEC) and the German-Malaysian-Institute (GMI) as
well as the South Australian Matriculation programme at KBU prepare their students to
pass the DSH/TestDaF exams, which are requirements for entering any study programme
in Germany, in which the language of instruction is German. (B2/C1 – Upper
Intermediate/Advanced, CEFR)
301
Apart from elective proficiency courses, UM and UPM have been offering Bachelor of
Arts (BA) degree programmes with German as the major subject since 1998 and 2001
respectively. UM offers two BA programmes: 1) “Bachelor of Languages and Linguistics
(German Language)” and 2) “Bachelor of Languages and Linguistics (German with
Education)”; UPM offers one BA programme: “Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages
(German)”. After seven academic semesters, the students reach the B1 level (Intermediate,
CEFR) in German in speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension. For most of
them German is their third (L3) or fourth language (L4) after Bahasa Malaysia, English
Chinese dialects and Tamil. During their studies, students have the opportunity to study for
one or two semesters in Germany through exchange mobility programmes. As of 2015, five
students who graduated with a BA degree in German are enrolled in a Master’s (MA)
degree programme at UPM (e.g. Applied Comparative Linguistics, Discourse Analysis,
Literary and Cultural Studies).
1.3 The Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Languages (German)-Programme
at UPM
Initially designed as a four-year Bachelor’s programme, the Bachelor of Arts in Foreign
Languages (German)- programme (BA German) at Fakulti Bahasa Moden dan Komunikasi
/ Universiti Putra Malaysia was introduced in the academic year 2001/2002. However, due
to revised regulations on Bachelor’s programmes in general, it has been conducted as a
three-year programme since its inauguration. To graduate from the BA German programme
(until 2013) neither comprehensive final exams were required nor did the students have to
complete a final year research project. The students were also not given the opportunity to
gain work experiences in an internship.
In 2014, the BA German experienced several substantial changes such as the
introductions of an eight-week Industrial Training, and a Final Year Research Project as
well as an additional seventh semester. Since 2001, 164 Malaysian students have studied
the BA German curriculum - a combination of language instruction, more traditional
philological subjects and market-oriented courses: German Language I-III, Communication
Skills I-II, Writing in German, German for Specific Purposes: Tourism / Commerce /
Science and Technology, Historical Survey of Germany, Introduction to German
Literature, Introduction to German Linguistics, Introduction to German Culture, German
20th Century Art, Translation of Text, Research Methodology in German, and Teaching
German as a Foreign Language. Several courses such as Historical Survey of Germany,
Introduction to German Linguistics and German 20 th Century Art are taught bilingually –
German and English.
Students are required to take up a minor course as well. The minors offered by the
Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication are Malay Literature, Communication,
Arabic Language, English Literature, Chinese Literature, Translation and Interpretation,
while courses offered by other faculties are Business Management, Resource Management,
Business Administration, Hotel Management and Hospitality & Recreation just to name a
few.
302
Thus far, only selective research (the 2008 graduates) has been carried out to
investigate the professional development of BA German students from UPM after their
graduation.
2.0
The Tracer Study – Objectives and Methodology
A comprehensive study of the professional whereabouts of the 2008 BA German graduates
and initial surveys among selected graduates from the 2004-, 2007-, 2010- and 2012cohorts conducted via Facebook-chat in August/September 2013 allowed the assumption
that the majority of the BA German graduates from UPM had no problems in finding
employment in industry or academia shortly after finishing their studies. Their areas of
employment included marketing, tourism, finance, banking, counseling and sales, as well
as teaching languages or science-subjects. Several have completed Master’s degrees or are
in the process of completion. A few continued their studies in Germany. Several have
founded their own businesses. Findings from the initial survey did not reveal
unemployment and professional issues. (Schaar, Selke, Ogasa, Ang, 2015)
The tracer study - supported by Universiti Putra Malaysia Grant
GP/2013/9421500 - was initiated in January 2014 and will be concluded in December
2015. Objectives of the tracer study:
 to verify and to evaluate the aspects of the studies at UPM, the relevance and
usability of the German language and the academic knowledge that contributed to
the graduate’s professional or academic career.
 to identify comprehensive data on the professional whereabouts of BA German
graduates from UPM (2004-2014) in industry and academia in order to suggest
changes to the existing BA German curriculum.
From the results, the authors might be able to suggest a more market-oriented direction
of the existing BA German study programme at UPM. A curriculum which takes the
challenges of human resource development in Malaysia with regard to a globalized market
into consideration would certainly contribute to the training of much sought after experts in
their respective fields and further improve the employability of BA German graduates. The
study will focus on fields of employment, job opportunities and income development (also
related to postgraduate degrees), the relevance and usability of the German language in
professional settings. The tracer study was conducted in several stages:
The research team developed survey guidelines based on the structure and
methodology of similar tracer studies carried out in social sciences programmes in
Germany (Briedis, Fabian, Kerst, Schaeper, 2008; Kräuter, Oberlander, Wießner 2009;
Schomburg 2009). A focus group, consisting of 5 graduates from different cohorts (2004,
2006, 2008, 2012) who were employed in a variety of fields – teaching, finance, marketing,
and sales – was set up. Group discussions provided in-depth understanding into the strength
and shortcomings of the UPM study programme, the job application process, the demands,
challenges and difficulties faced by the graduates in the labour market, the work-related
303
role of German language, the income development. The results of the focus group
discussions were analysed and the survey questions revised. The research team aimed to
establish contacts to 60-70% of the 164 BA German graduates from UPM by applying the
so called snowball-effect via Facebook (friends, groups) telephone and Email. A survey
with 85 to 100 participants (equals 60-70%) - carried out by electronic means – telephone,
Skype, Facebook-groups, whatsapp-groups – or as face-to-face interviews – provided the
necessary data to answer the research questions. In-depth interviews for instance or
purposeful conversations gave the authors immediate responses and the opportunity for
clarification.A questionnaire to obtain statistical data and Likert scale based assessments
was also designed and sent out to graduates.
3.0
Results – Facts & Figures
3.1
The 2009 & 2010 Graduates
Cohort 5 – graduation in 2009: total 10 students - 8 Chinese Females (CF), 1 Malay Female
(MF) and 1 Chinese Male (CM). 9 out of 10 (90%) participated in the study.
Cohort 6 – graduation in 2010: total 22 students – 18 Chinese Females (CF), 2 Chinese
Males (CM), 1 Indian Female (IF) and 1 Other Female (OF). 18 out of 22 (82%)
participated in the study. 32 students of the cohorts 5 and 6 successully graduated from the
BA German programme at UPM. 27 (n=100%) contributed data to the tracer study (=
84%).
With a ratio of 81% females (29) and 9% males (3), the groups represent the
typical gender distribution of BA German classes. From the 2001 to the 2011 intake,
Chinese females clearly dominated the ethnic composition of the classes.
3.2
The Professional Development
In 2009 and 2010, the 5th and 6th BA German-cohorts graduated from UPM and joined the
Malaysian job market.
- 16 graduates (59%) out of 27 (100%) found employment within one month of
graduation, 9 graduates (33%) in less than three months, 2 (7%) needed about 6
months to secure employment.
- 70% (19 graduates) found their first jobs in administrative positions - Sales,
Purchasing, Marketing, Customer Service, Public Relations, Human Resources –
in industry, finance and in the service sector. 11% (3 graduates) became
educators (in comparison: 28% of the 2008 graduates began a career in education)
Table 1 displays the CGPA and minor-subject, the obtained academic degrees, their first
(in some cases second, third) and current jobs since graduation and the approximate
incomes. (09=2009 graduate, 10=2010 graduate, ndp=no data provided)
304
Student
(CGPA)
University
Degree
(Minor)
First Job
Following Job(s)
Current Job
Income in Ringgit
Malaysia
CF09-1
(ndp)
BA
(Hospitality and
Tourism)
Shipping Officer, Furniture Factory
Production Control Officer, Vitally Markerting
Shipping Executive, Furniture Factory
RM 1500
RM 1600
RM 2400
CF09-2
(3.2)
BA
(Hospitality and
Tourism)
Customer Service Officer, Celcom
Business Development Assistant Manager, Synergy
House Furniture Sdn Bhd
RM 2000
RM 3800
CF09-3
(3.5)
BA
(Hospitality and
Tourism)
Public Relation Officer, Magazine Company
Branding Development Consultant, PR Agency
Advertisement & Promotion Assistant Manager,
F&B
RM 1800
RM 2800
RM 4200
CF09-4
(3.7)
BA
(Business
Management)
Accounting Assistant, ndp
Supervisor, 3Q MRC Centre
Teacher, Chinese Primary School
RM 1200
RM 1800
RM 2400
CF09-5
(3.3)
BA
Diploma
(Hospitality and
Tourism)
Language Tutor, Little Bean Reading Centre
Marketing Executive in Sushi Kin Sdn Bhd
Project Administrator, EV-Dynamic Sdn Bhd
RM 1650
RM 2500
ndp
CF09-6
(3.6)
BA
(Tourism
Management)
Customer Service Representative, JF Apex Securities
Human Resource Admin Assistant, AE Technology
Administration Assistant, Elabram System Berhad
ndp
ndp
<RM2000
CF09-7
(3.3)
BA
(Tourism
Management)
Admin Executive, Agensi Pekerjaan Great Resources
Material Planner Executive, Finisar Malaysia Sdn
Bhd
RM 1800
RM 2000RM3000
CF09-8
(2.8)
BA
(Business)
Purchase Assistant, Dye Knitting Fabric FactoryForeign Sales Asisstant, Termah Sewing Machine
<RM 1500RM 1500+
MF09-1
(3.2)
BA
Master
(English)
Marketing Executive, Bank
Tutor for German, UPM
PhD Student
RM 1700RM 2983
scholarship
CF10-1
(2.7)
BA
(Economy)
Customer Service Officer, Mega Labels & Sticker
S/B
RM 2000
CF10-2
(3.05)
BA
(Hospitality and
Tourism)
Receptionist, Neway Karaoke Box
Tutor, Nanny in Child Care Centre
Substitute Teacher, Primary Chinese School
Teacher, Primary Chinese School
RM 1800
RM 1800
RM 45 per day
RM 2600
CF10-3
(3.2)
BA
(Hospitality and
Recreation)
Cabin Crew, Singapore Airlines
ndp
305
CF10-4
(2.8)
BA
(Hospitality and
Recreation)
Teacher, Chinese Primary School
RM 2700
CF10-5
(3.5)
BA
Master
(Economy)
Assistant Manager, CIMB Principal Asset
Management
RM 4000RM 5000
CF10-6
(3.3)
BA
(Hospitality and
Recreation)
Human Resources Executive, Cheng Yeap Sdn. Bhd
Sales Coordinator, Wansern Technology Sdn. Bhd.
ndp
ndp
CF10-7
(3.5)
BA
(Management)
Marketing Executive, AXA Insurance Company
RM3000+
CF10-8
(3.6)
BA
(Hospitality and
Recreation)
Sales Person, Inbound Tour Company
RM 2300
CF10-9
(3.6)
BA
(Mass
Communication)
Customer Care Consultant, Customer Service Centre
Marketing Executive, Furniture Exporter company
Marketing Analyst, Jebsen & Jessen Chemicals (M)
RM2000
RM3500
RM4500
CF10-10
(3.3)
BA
(Management)
Teacher, Chinese Primary School
Hawker, Family Business
RM2500+
ndp
CF10-11
(3.5)
BA
(Management)
Marketing Executive, chemical company
Teacher
ndp
ndp
CF10-12
(2.7)
BA
(Management)
HR Officer, Engineering Consultant Company Sales
Assistant Manager, MOL Accessportal Sdn. Bhd
ndp
ndp
CF10-13
(3.1)
BA
(Economy)
Marketing Executive, Textile Manufacturer
ndp
CF10-14
(3.5)
BA
(Hospitality and
Tourism)
Web Content Reviewer, IT Company
Education Advisor, Education Specialist
RM 3300
RM 2700
CF10-15
(3.7)
BA
(Hospitality and
Tourism)
Event Coordinator, Mines Exhibition Convention
Centre
Teacher, Chinese Primary School
RM 1900
RM 2400
CF10-16
(3.3)
BA
(Mass
Communication)
Underwriting Executive, Insurance Company
Operation Executive, Gintell (Healthcare)
Product Executive, Digital Paper Sdn. Bhd.
Sales Support Officer, Commercial Developer
Sales Admin Executive, Commercial Developer
RM 1700
RM 2500
RM 2200
RM 2600
RM 2800
IF10-1
(3.4)
BA
(English)
Sales Executive, Salmat Salesforce (M) Sdn. Bhd
Team Leader, American Express (M) Sdn. Bhd.
RM 2500
RM 5911
306
OF10-1
(3.8)
BA
(English)
Draughtperson, Tradisi Dungun Sdn.
Study Counsellor, DAAD
Administrative Executive, Luther Corporate Service
(German Law Firm)
RM 2835
RM 3238
ndp
Table 1: Professional development of the 2009/2010 graduates
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Many 2009/2010 graduates have been promoted since their first employment.
21 graduates (78%) have changed their job titles, their companies, schools,
institutions or professions altogether in order to gain a higher income, face greater
challenges, enjoy better career opportunities or escape conflicts with superiors or
colleagues.
Only CF10-1,-3,-4-,5,-8,-13 have remained in their companies/schools since the
beginning of their professional career due to a positive working environment and
good career opportunities.
In 2014, 7 graduates (26%) worked as teachers/tutor of German or other
languages (Bahasa Malaysia, English, and Mandarin) as well as for science
subjects at primary and residential schools and universities.
18 graduates (67%) worked in administrative positions (as Executives or Assistant
Managers) in the private sector.
9 out of 10 2009 graduates (90%) held the Bachelor of Arts from UPM as their
highest academic degree. MF09-1 has obtained a Master’s degree in Comparative
Linguistics from UPM and is currently preparing a proposal for a PhD-study.
17 out of 18 2010 graduates (94%) held the Bachelor of Arts from UPM as their
highest academic degree. CF10-5 has obtained a Master’s Degree in Business
Administration from UPM.
CF09-4,-5, CF10-2,-4,-11,-15 studied education and teaching related Diploma
courses in order to qualify as teachers.
The German language played only a marginal role in the everyday professional routine.
Only 6 graduates (22%) applied German language in their jobs: MF09-1 was a tutor for
German language at FBMK/UPM, CF10-3 greeted German passengers who were using the
airline she worked for, others wrote business letters or translated business correspondence
and manuals. The majority however, used mostly English and Mandarin / Cantonese in
their professional settings.
3.3
The BA German Programme at UPM in Retrospective
During the electronic survey, the former students were asked to fill in a 27 statementssurvey, in order to assess positive or negative aspects of the study programme at UPM in
retrospect by applying the five-point Likert-Scale - 5 (I strongly agree), 4 (I agree), 3
(undecided) , 2 (I disagree), 1 (I strongly disagree).
307
Tendencies: (total mean: 2009 mean / 2010 mean: wording of total mean)
- Studying BA German at UPM was an overall positive experience for most of the
2009/2010 graduates (4.35: 4.33/4.38: I agree)
- The assessment, whether the BA German programme adequately prepared the
graduates for entering the Malaysian job market only scored a mean of 3.11
(undecided) The justifications given in interviews/online chats were:
a) insufficient credit hours for learning the language properly,
b) too many subjects offered within the BA German programme which leads to only
superficial knowledge in each of the subjects,
c) no practical application of acquired knowledge in form of an internship,
d) no final thesis which would enable students to research, discuss, apply problemsolving skills and write a scientific text, and
e) a perceived mismatch of study contents and the availability of related jobs.
-
the contribution of the minor subject was regarded as slightly higher (3.5:
3.33/3.66: I agree).
The statement I can use the knowledge I have acquired in the BA German
programme for my job scored undecided (2.8: 2.67/3) whereas I can use the
knowledge I have acquired in the minor subject for my job scored higher (3.47:
3.22/3.72).
Questioned about generic skills, the participants stated that studying at UPM enabled
them to effectively communicate (4.2: 4.1/4.3: I agree), to develop “team spirit” (3.36:
2.78/3.94: undecided), the ability to assess/judge and deal with different personalities
(4.08: 3.89/4.27: I agree). They claimed to have learned how to work under pressure (3.52:
3.67/3.38: I agree), how to find and process information (3.89: 3.78/4: I agree), and how to
develop organizational skills (3.6: 3.44/3.77: I agree). A repeated complaint however
voiced by several graduates was the neglect of problem-solving skills in the curriculum and
the teaching practice.
Both cohorts slightly agreed that the BA German programme was in need of
substantial changes (3.6: 3.44/3.77). Those suggested improvements, however, vary from
student to student based on her/his personal interests, subject preferences, profession and
work experiences.
“Changes” mean more credit hours for either market-oriented or philological subjects.
It was stated that the programme might benefit from a future dual focus on Translation of
Text (4.44: 4.55/4.33: I agree), Teaching German as a Foreign Language (4.33: 4.44/4.22: I
agree), Introduction to German Linguistics (3.86: 3.78/3.94: I agree), Introduction to
German Culture (3.86: 3.56/4.16: I agree) on the one hand (preferred by lecturers and
primary school teachers), and German for Specific Purposes (GSP): Commerce (3.9: 4/3.8:
I agree), GSP: Tourism (3.85: 3.89/3.83: I agree), GSP: Science and Technology (3.5:
3.3/3.7: I agree) on the other hand – preferred by those employed in industry and finance.
308
The graduates strongly agreed that an industrial training (internship) in schools,
companies, hotels etc. (introduced in June 2014!) would prepare future BA German
graduates better for the challenges of Malaysia’s globalised job market (4.52: 4.33/4.72)
and that a similar positive effect was to be expected from writing a research-based Final
Year Research Project (4.05: 3.78/4.33: I agree). The 2009 and 2010 graduates agreed that
the combination of major in German and any minor subject – business related or a
language study – was a successful combination for entering the job market (4.37:
4.33/4.41). Therefore, they would recommend this study programme (4.08: 4.11/4.05: I
agree) to future students.
309
References
Briedis, K., Fabian, G., Kerst, C. & Schaeper, H. (2008). Berufsverbleib von
Geisteswissenschaftlerinnen und Geisteswissenschaftlern (Professional whereabouts of
social scientists). HIS: Forum Hochschule.11/2008, Hannover.
Employment Outlook and Salary Guide 2012/2013. A practitioner’s insight to salaries
across industries, published by Kelly Services Malaysia.
Future Direction of Language Education in Malaysia, prepared by Study Committee for
the Future Direction of the Language Education in Malaysia, Department of Higher
Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 2010.
Hooi, L. W. (2008). Human Capital Management Practices in Malaysia: Local and
Foreign Perspectives. Penerbit UTM, 2008.
Kräuter, M., Oberlander W. & Wießner, F. (2009). Arbeitsmarktchancen für
Geisteswissenschaftler. Analysen, Perspektiven, Existenzgründung (Labour market
prospects for social scientists. Analysis, Perspectives, Start-ups). Institut für Arbeitsmarktund Berufsforschung, IAB-Bibliothek 320. Bielefeld: W. Bertelsmann Verlag.
Schaar, T., Selke, R., Ogasa, N., & Lay Hoon, A. (2015). Bachelor’s Degree in German
Studies and Then? The Professional Development of the 2008 BA German Graduates from
Universiti Putra Malaysia. Global Journal of Business and Social Science Review, 1/2,
499-509.
Schomburg, H. (2009): Generation Vielfalt. Bildungs- und Berufswege der Absolventen
von Hochschulen in Deutschland 2007-2008 (Generation Diversity. Education and
employment paths of University Graduates in Germany 2007-2008). Kassel:
Internationales Zentrum für Hochschulforschung, Werkstattbericht Nr. 71.
310
Reorientation of Desire in Adrienne Rich’s
Twenty-One Love Poems
Mohamad Fleih Hassan1, Rosli Talif2, Hardev Kaur3
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
3
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) is a leading voice within the feminist movement in the United
States. The issue of female identity and liberation is a recurrent theme in Rich’s poetry. She
proposes a new possibility of freeing women through the reorientation of female desire as a
key issue in the restructure of female identity. Therefore, my objective in this study is to
deal with the abject representation of female desire in Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love
Poems to show her poetics behind the reorientation of female desire. This paper employs
Julia Kristeva’s Abjection in analyzing Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems (1977) to explore
her poetic discourse concerning the restructuring of female identity through the
reorientation of female desire. Desire is a key determinant of one’s identity; thus the
application of Kristeva’s theory of Abjection will give a better understanding of Rich’s
resort to the reorientation of female desire as a source of empowerment for women. Rich
presents her proposal of female desire as a new strategy of helping women against the
oppressive thought of heterosexuality and patriarchy in her poems. Rich in this poem
exhibits a transformative understanding of the potentials and powers of the female body
and the possibility of utilizing it to face the compulsory heterosexuality and patriarchal
thought.
Keywords: abjection, desire, female identity, heterosexuality
1.0
Introduction
What does woman want? asks the
Freud who wrote Totem and
Taboo and didn't think to include
mothers in his scheme of things.
He seems to have a problem with
the mother. Is it womb envy?
Susan Hawthorne’s Hystory
The poetry of Adrienne Rich explores the possibilities of an expression of what constitutes
the identity of women in the patriarchal world. Woman in Rich’s early life had to accept
the world as it was given to her. Her individuality is already defined by sets of rules preestablished by patriarchy and she has no choice but to follow. Rich thought that woman is
the first source of emotion, love and physical nurture for both female and male children.
Thus, the search for love in male and female should be directed towards women in
311
particular. Woman is there in the life of the male and female child; caring, nurturing, and
loving them. It is only with the child’s recognition that he is different in what Lacan calls
the Mirror Stage that he or she separates itself from mother. Later, sexual orientation
would be determined by the sense of lack intensified by the symbolic world that empowers
man and weakens woman. Men “need women to be constituted as lacking in order for them
to have the illusion that they have the phallus and the power that comes with it” (McAfee,
2004, 32). Rich realized that the sexual orientation had been exploited to serve man’s
desires and needs only. Female desire was institutionalized to be passive, dependent and
powerless, compared with male desire which is active, independent and powerful.
Consequently, women were left behind as subservient to men. The heterosexual thought
entails the existence of a subservient female whose desire is repressed and ignored to give
man the feeling of superiority over woman. He is the giver and she is the taker; so he is the
master and she is the slave.
Rich’s poetry points the way toward how such a re-representation might occur. The
purpose of her writing, Rich writes, “is to liberate women, [which] means to change
thinking itself: finally to reintegrate what has been named the unconscious, the subjective,
the emotional with the structural, the rational, the intellectual; … and finally to annihilate
those dichotomies” (Rich, 1995, 81).
Rich thought heterosexuality should be studied as an institution exploited by patriarchy to
victimize women and subordinate them. She stated her thesis in her Compulsory
Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (1980) that “heterosexuality, like motherhood,
needs to be recognized and studied as a political institution-even, or especially, by those
individuals who feel they are, in their personal experience, the precursors of a new social
relation between the sexes” (637). Rich argued that the assumption that most women are
innately heterosexual was a theoretical and political frame utilized by men to keep women
as needy for males because within the heterosexual system women are objects of desire;
thus passive. She rejected the assumption that women have to interiorize heterosexuality as
the right model of life. She said that woman-identified relation (lesbian) has been written
out of history because it was a threat to man’s supremacy over women. The female desire
(lesbian one) was degraded through history and prescribed as insanity and danger. She said
that heterosexuality is a system imposed, organized, propagandized, and maintained by
force on women. (Ibid. 648)
Cole and Cate introduced a renewed appreciation and assessment to Adrienne Rich’s
Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence in their study entitled, Compulsory
Gender and Transgender Existence: Adrienne Rich's Queer Possibility (2008). They
presented a new reading of the transgender issues in the light of Rich’s essay. Rich’s
objective in her essay was to create a kind of strategy that generates a deeply felt selfunderstanding of woman as an identity or subject position in a context defined by the Law
of the father. Rich calls this strategy the lesbian continuum. Lesbian continuum is ‘a
strategic mechanism for generating politically viable identities and alliances. It is a way of
shifting investments, a reorientation that attempts to demystify and recognize women's
complex lived experience’ (pp. 281-282).
312
Rich tried to analyse society in relation to the ethical relationship between the male
principle and female one. She defines these two principles according to the traditional
Western thought in which the male principle stands for separation and objectivity while the
female one stands for relationship and subjectivity. Rich distances herself from the
traditional Western definition of these two qualities and their interrelationship. She thinks
that the patriarchal society divided these two principles, which caused what she calls a
‘terrifying dissociation of sensibility’. This kind of dissociation means that society reduces
the importance of woman and the female principle to the masculine notions of what is fit
and unfit to them. Therefore these two principles are kept separate. This separation deems
the priority of the male principle and the dislike for everything related to the female
principles. The patriarchal thought defines masculinity as the right to dominate and control
femininity. This thought objectifies the female and cause the suppression of the female
principle whether in the self, the natural environment, or the artistic world. Rich thinks that
men and women try to keep themselves aloof and untouched by the female principle of
subjectivity and relationship; and this kind of separation of the two sides of human
existence is unethical and unsatisfactory. She believes that with no mutual and communal
relationship of the male and female principles, culture, nature and language are forced into
a situation of manipulation and use (Farwell, 1977, pp. 193-194).
Therefore, Rich hoped throughout her collection of the The Twenty-One Love Poems to
rely on the readers' recognizing the ideologies associated with heterosexuality and
conventional ways of reading against which these love poems position themselves. She
argued that the deconstruction of heterosexual thinking would help in the creation of
certain spaces for the circulation of female discourses that would be fair to women’s needs
and desires.
2.0
Kristeva’s Abjection
The concept of abjection is a key concept presented in Julia Kristeva’s seminal book,
Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1980), which presents a viable way to the study
of representations of female desire. Kristeva focuses on the marginalization of women both
in the mainstream society and in the traditional psychoanalytical theories. Everywhere,
women have been framed as inferior and unequal to man, and her female desire as passive
and negative desire.
Women have been degraded and ignored within the Freudian and Lacanian psychological
domains. Within the frameworks of these two schools, the early phase of the child’s life is
a life of plenitude, in which he experiences fullness and oneness with his environment. The
child sees no distinction between himself and his mother and sees no subjectivity in
himself. He comes into being without any borders. But these borders must be developed to
get into the world of the subject. Freud thinks that the child makes a distinction between
self and Other when it realizes that the mother lacks the same sexual organ that the father
has. Lacan thinks that the subject is constituted when the child recognizes its difference
from the mother when it identifies with its reflection in the mirror. He calls it ‘the mirror
stage’ which gives the child the sense of unity when he sees himself in the mirror and starts
realizing that he has a unitary self. This stage describes the ego’s formation through the
identification with the counterpart in the mirror. The child claims this image as his own,
313
which gives him the sense of mastery. Moreover, this stage has a symbolic dimension,
which is represented by the figure of the ‘other’ distinguished from the figure in the mirror.
(Evans, 2006, 118-119) Thus, if the child wants to get an access to the symbolic world,
he has to split of his mother and to be identified with ‘the Name of the Father’ because the
father stands for the phallus; the major signifier. Levine says in his book Lacan Reframed
(2008):
In the Name of the Father the child must learn to tear
himself away from the seductive Desire of the Mother,
to identify himself with the father's naysaying to
incestuous desire, to renounce the impossible burden
of being the Imaginary phallic object that the mother
lacks, to accept the Symbolic promise of becoming a
father in the future, but only after having waited his
turn. (14)
Thus, both of Freud and Lacan “posit women as lack and as castration” (Barrett, 2011, 96).
Kristeva’s contribution is that the child starts separating itself from others before the mirror
stage. She calls this process of separation ‘abjection’. Abjection is the state of abjecting or
rejecting what is other to oneself, and thereby creating borders of an always tenuous “I.”
(McAfee, 2004, 45). The abject is the unspeakable and unnamable because it is related to
the things that are disgusting like vomit, blood, bile, by people who suppress and reject the
chaotic part of the self, the Id in order to fulfill the state of superego.
Abjection describes the horror experienced by the child as it attempts to separate itself from
the pre-Oedipal mother in the passage from the Imaginary to the Symbolic Order. It is a
refusal of the mother who is experienced as abject so that the child might expel itself from
the mother-child dyad and become a subject. Kristeva says in Powers of Horror: An Essay
on Abjection (1982):
The abjection of self would be the culminating form of
that experience of the subject to which it is revealed
that all its objects are based merely on the inaugural
loss that laid the foundations of its own being. There is
nothing like the abjection of self to show that all
abjection is in fact recognition of the want on which
any being, meaning, language, or desire is founded. (5)
Kristeva adds that the experience of the abject doesn't stop when the child gets into the
symbolic order. She thinks that the abject never ceases to haunt the borders of identity, but
continuously threatens to dissolve these borders and in turn threatens the unity of the
subject. Ross comments on Kristeva’s abjection saying “It is in fact an integral part of the
identity process; as one attempts to ensure his or her subjectivity through the abjection of
the other, one never quite succeeds in differentiating the self from this abjected other”
(Ross, 1997, 149).
Kristeva thinks that abjection is “a process that can collapse meaning, but which is
nevertheless fundamental to the constitution of identity and renewal of meaning (Barrett,
2011, 94). She utilizes abjection to deconstruct the conventional formation of identity
which excludes the female as the Other to the self, and to destroy the strict hierarchical
314
boundaries between the subject and the object. Simultaneously, she reconstructs a new
discourse that does suppress the female identity through the creation of a fluid identity
which embraces the Other and disrupts the system of binary thinking. She rejects the thesis
that the subject is stable and fixed. Instead, she thinks that the subject is in a dynamic
process formation when this subject carries the Other within it, and she calls it a “subjectin-process”. Moreover, the female desire, related to female ‘the Other’ is also repressed and
marginalized by the patriarchal thought, and perceived as lack by the patriarchal sexual
politics of difference. Woman is framed as an object of desire, thus weak and passive. On
the other side, man as a subject of desire is the powerful and active. In this respect, the aim
of Kristeva’s theory of abjection is to free the female desire from its conventional
definitions as a site of negation, lack, and absence. (Aktari, 2010, 2)
3.0
Adrienne Rich’s Discourse of Female Desire
Rich introduced her new proposal ‘the act of re-vision’, which rose lots of implications that
polemize patriarchal thought. She was transformed with her poetics from the artistically
detached and objective writer in the fifties of the last century to the more individual and
feminist ideologist in the seventies. She relied on language to present her critical views of
the patriarchal world, arguing for an alternative world. Diaz-Diocaretz (1985) says in her
Translating Poetic Discourse: Questions on Feminist Strategies in Adrienne Rich that
Rich’s new revolutionary thesis consists of:
a set of textual strategies concerning the use of certain
lexical and semantic decisions in order to develop a
displacement of connotation. For example, Rich
introduced new correspondences and oppositions to
the contextual connotations in her female and lesbian
identified poetic texts to change the emotional
connotations of passivity associated with women into
connotations of positivity. (62)
She argued that the female desire could change the fixed-meanings of passivity and
inferiority associated with women by the symbolic language; she introduced the lesbian
discourse to be a weapon of defying the supremacy of males over females through the use
of a language that connotes no negative association to women. Lesbian discourse includes
the set of works in which the authors have not “internalized the patriarchal view of their
subservience nor accepted, even superficially, their feminine role” (Heilbbrun, 1982, 810).
The lesbian writer tries to assert herself in his text by the act of naming the text as
subservient to the norms of writing of patriarchy. Another way of asserting the self in the
text is by contextualizing certain referential meanings encompassing relationships of love
between two female subjects. The aim is to create a vision of female identified world
governed only by women. Feminist and lesbian writers commit themselves in their texts to
create a new female-identified discourse directed towards the reshaping and reformation of
the female identity (Diaz-Diocaretz, 1985, 46-47).
Women are invisible within the patriarchal society. Adrienne Rich endeavors to give
woman’s life a meaningful existence by identifying and unifying women’s life and
315
experience of the past with these of the present. Women-to-women relationship is Rich’s
lesbian-feminist vision for the end of women’s misery. Diaz-Diocaretz comments on
Rich’s vision saying:
Man appears as an incidental presence, the occasional
transgressors; this does not mean he has ceased to exist
but that he is deterritorialized in the poet’s presented
vision. Woman is no longer living in a man’s world;
the critique of patriarchy and Rich’s self assertion
open a new territory for the bonding with other women
through the “power of language, which is the ultimate
relationship with everything in the universe” (61)
The subject/object system relies on the idea of there being a male subject with a female
object. Lesbians confound the system, and because lesbians cannot occupy the subject or
object position without contradicting the binary system, they must exist outside of the
patriarchy. So, if they want to exist, they have to follow a new procedure. Rich thinks that
the subversion and revision of patriarchal language in addition to the placement of lesbian
interaction as a political alternative to heterosexuality can be the new procedures to liberate
women of the fitters of patriarchy. Rich said in her Compulsory Heterosexuality and
Lesbian Existence:
Woman-identification is a source of energy, a potential
springhead of female power, violently curtailed and
wasted under the institution of heterosexuality. The
denial of reality and visibility to women's passion for
women, women's choice of women as allies, life
companions, and community; the forcing of such
relationships into dissimulation and their disintegration
under intense pressure have meant an incalculable loss
to the power of all women to change the social
relations of the sexes, to liberate ourselves and each
other. (Rich, compulsory heterosexuality, 657)
Rich’s hope-generating words and her erotic-mystical vision of women constructing a
linguistic map to freedom inspired new voices to come forth. She thought that women
could utilize their female desire to subvert the culturally constructed representation of
women. Thus, woman’s position would be resituated in relation to the dominant patriarchal
order as an autonomous and powerful by claiming her sexual subjectivity.
4.0
Discussion
Desire in Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems
Rich wrote the Twenty-One Love Poems in 1974 and included them in her collection The
Dream of Common Language. These poems were her first collection of poetry with an
explicit lesbian content. Rich’s poems challenge the dominant cultural values and discourse
316
while it exemplifies the internally dialogic, self-reflexive motion of Rich's poems. Rich’s
poems talk about a relationship between two women; a relationship that flourishes and
disintegrates depending on the forces within these women. These poems offered various
portraits of love between two women who refused to accept and live the confines of a
heterosexual life.
Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems tried to demolish the patriarchal definition of the female
desire as passive. The promotion of the female desire as active can be achieved in the light
of abject representations, which challenge the strictly constructed hierarchical relationships
between men and women. Feminist tend to re-establish the story of female desire to be an
active catalyst in the re-formation and re-historization of female identity. Rich tried to
construct a counter-discourse in order to subvert the negatively imposed meanings of
female desire by re-producing and re-introducing them as positive ones. Moreover, Rich
proposed that women can enact their discursive practices of desire to recast the traditional
subject/object relations, and to subvert the dominant/submissive roles that are socially
constructed as an oppressive system of sexual subordination for women. One of Rich’s
strategies to get her aim is the re-writing and re-representation of female body and female
sexuality.
Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems are a series of twenty-one poems in a free verse style.
They followed the form of traditional Petrarchan sonnet. They tell the story of a love affair
between two women. These poems were written while Rich was in an emotional and
intellectual relationship with another woman. In these poems, Rich tried to make her
language acts and body acts as one and at the same time. She attached herself to the lover
in these poems because she wanted to be so close to a domain she was so familiar with.
Thus, she discussed this private concern within the public realm because she wanted to “rebirth the desiring female lover, using the sonnet structure to reform the lover’s body within
the new, external space of the poem” (Bassnett, 2007, 50).
The abject is associated with everything that should be expelled and excluded to have a
proper subject. The proper subject should not be related in any way to the mother because
she is abjected by the child as the Other, the Object and the improper, which are needed to
constitute the subject according to the psychoanalysts. When Kristeva said that abjection
was not ended with the child’s access into the symbolic world, abjection became a
continuous threat to that proper subject and a transgressive power against the binary system
of the patriarchal world. Thus, abjection became a subversive force to the traditional
formation of female identity, and a catalyst to a new re-formation of identity. Female
writers started using abject figures to shake the foundations of male-established thought
Rich’s first sonnet introduces the dream of her lover within the public space of the city in
an endeavour to violate the norms by presenting the personal and the forbidden into the
public domain. Rich connected the private with the public calling them ‘inseparable’.
we also have to walk … if simply as we walk
through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties
of our own neighborhoods.
We need to grasp our lives inseparable
317
from those rancid dreams, … (I, 4-8)
Rich presents active female desire in abject forms in her poems. She connected the
personal to the public through abjecting the boundaries created to keep the two women
separated. The poet invades the external world with her female desire through the
declaration of her love affair to another woman. Such an act transgresses all boundaries.
The two characters violated the male-dominated ideology, which entails the abandonment
of a female-identified relation. The exercise of love affair between two women in the
streets of the city; in man’s world of logic and intellect, was a real threat for the kingdom
of the father. Therefore, the couple enjoyed some kind of privacy because it was very
dangerous to venture openly into the city and claim lesbian desire. Within the patriarchal
thought, woman abjects her feminine roots to be accepted in the symbolic masculine world.
Thus, redirecting female desire towards these feminine roots in a female-identified love
scene in the middle of the city is a dangerous violation to man’s world. But these two
women were unaware to the surroundings because they want to ‘grasp our lives
inseparable’. The word ‘inseparable’ goes against the psychoanalytical theory of identity
formation, which entails the ultimate separation of the maternal world and the adaptation of
the paternal values to form the female and female identity. This female-identified love
story abjects the values of man’s world, and frees women to re-form their own identities in
the light of what Kristeva calls ‘the subject-in-process’.
Female sexuality was something taboo to talk about because it was stereotyped as passive
and dangerous, thus it was not permissible to represent any form of female desire in the
symbolic world. , it is represented by abject imagery which has the potential to transgress
the boundaries of the cultural and social structures that privilege the male principle over the
female one.
The language of these poems describes the individual quality of an intimate relationship
between two women. It moves between tones of understatement and assertions of the
difficulties sustaining such a poetry in the face of a tradition of lies and silence reflected in
‘centuries of books unwritten piled behind these shelves.’ (V, 16) Rich defines lesbianism
as a conflux "of the self-chosen woman, the forbidden 'primary intensity' between women,
and also the woman who refuses to obey, who has said 'no' to the fathers" (Rich, 1980,
202).
Writers like Adrienne Rich tried to identify new categories that go against the current
cultural trends and common categories in order to create a kind of diversity. Queer theorists
claim that diversity causes resistance to the normative and dominant cultural values.
Subversion of the dominant power can be done by the refusal of conformity and the
practice of diversity. (Kirsch, 2000, p.36)
At first, Rich introduced the world as it is governed by patriarchy, ‘Whenever in this city,
screens flicker/ with pornography, with science-fiction vampires’ (I, 1-2). Thus she
prepared the way to the coming of a different world with different attitudes when she
declared the love affair between the two women. The poet described the traditional life in
the city which would be violated later in favor of creating a shock in the reader’s
consciousness to call him to question the patriarchal narratives.
318
The poems shifted from the description of the city into the focus on woman’s love to
another woman and ended with a celebration of women’s talents and powers. Rich thought
that the heterosexual thought ties each woman to a man, thus maintaining ma’s supremacy.
Rich introduced a feminist poetics of the lesbian desire as a substitution to the traditional
heterosexual love.
Your small hands, precisely equal to my own only the thumb is larger, longer - in these hands
I could trust the world, or in many hands like these,
handling power-tools or steering-wheel
or touching a human face. (VI, 1-5)
There is certain kind of recognition in these lines. The strength in these lines lies in the
following line, ‘in these hands/I could trust the world’ in which the speaker discovers
herself in the other self; the same-sex self not the different-sex self. ‘these hands’ stand as a
synecdoche for the whole female body, but this time it is not the breast, the face or the lips
because these parts are incentives of the male gaze. Hands protect women from man’s
greedy looks. Moreover, these hands will liberate women from the stereotypical role
designed to her by patriarchy. Craddock says that “Rich removes the asymmetry of the
heterosexual binary relationship by using the phrase ‘precisely equal’ ” (2013, 120). Rich
removes this oppressive male principle and offers a new vision devoid of hierarchy and
sexual difference. The identification now is a female-identified identification that unites
them through love, through which they become one ‘I was talking to my own soul.’
Abjection of the seductive parts of woman’ body shows Rich’s endeavors to change the
view that women are the objects of male gaze. She introduced women for the first time as
subjects of desire that is active and independent, instead of being objects of desire that are
passive and dependent. Rich said in her Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian
Existence:
The function of pornography as an influence on
consciousness is a major public issue of our time,
when a multibillion-dollar industry has the power to
disseminate increasingly sadistic, women-degrading
visual images. But even so-called soft-core
pornography and advertising depict women as objects
of sexual appetite devoid of emotional context, without
individual meaning or personality: essentially as a
sexual commodity to be consumed by males. (641)
The female sexual representations transgress dominant moral codes and norms promoted
and sustained by patriarchal society. Aktari said that sexuality shows the kind of
relationships between men and women under patriarchal ideology, and it “also constructs
class, race, religious, and ethnic relations on the basis of definitions of men and women.
The oppressor, represented by the male, womanizes its Other through oppression” (2010,
334).
I choose to be a figure in that light,
319
half-blotted by darkness, something moving
across that space, the color of stone
greeting the moon, yet more than stone:
a woman. I choose to walk here. And to draw this circle. (XXI, 11-15)
The poem ends with a determinative tone that she made up her mind to be herself and to be
a woman in that selfish masculine world. She decided to go through darkness and to walk
her way with a woman of her kind regardless of the oppositions and suppression of
patriarchy. Rich perceives the necessity of escaping the boundaries of convention to make a
new world ‘by women outside the law’. These poems stated that the free choice of life and
language can help women redefine poetry, thus equipping themselves with the power of
naming things. Drawing a circle at the end of the poem indicates the non-linearity of
woman’s history. Therefore, Rich asserts the autonomy she was seeking seeks. Rich
stresses the role of her consciousness when she emphasizes: ‘I choose to walk here/And to
draw this circle’ (XXI, 15). In coming to love the womanliness of her mind and its images,
she comes to fall in love herself.
Rich creates parallels between nature and woman to express her belief that women have the
power to name their environment as well as themselves. She renamed the "jewel-like
flower," because it was nameless before which showed woman’s competence to see things
differently. Through abjecting female sexuality, it is possible for women writers to
construct counter-discourses and counter identifications in which they subvert negatively
imposed understandings of female desire by producing from them positive ones. Rich's
emphasizes the preference for women in positions of power and extends her vision of
women's capabilities. Though lesbian desire and reciprocated love openly expressed in the
‘Floating Poem, Unnumbered,’ the majority of the love poems achieve a universal
significance. Woman’s quest for self-knowledge is more than a search for identity: it is part
of her rejection to the destructive ideology of male-dominated society. Such a radical
critique of literature would consider these poems as a clue to how we live, how we have
been living, how we have been led to imagine ourselves, how our language has trapped as
well as liberated us, how the very act of naming has been till now a male prerogative, and
how we can begin to see and name and therefore live-afresh.
320
References
Aktari, Selen (2010). Abject Representations of Female Desire in Postmodern British
Female Gothic Fiction. (PhD thesis) Middle East Technical University.
www.freefullpdf.com
Evans, D. (2006). An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. Routledge.
Barrett, E. (2011). Kristeva Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts. IB Tauris.
Bassnett, M. (2007). “Injoying of true joye the most, and best”: Desire and the Sonnet
Sequences of Lady Mary Wroth and Adrienne Rich. ESC: English Studies in Canada,
30(2), 49-66.
Cole, C. L., & Cate, S. L. (2008). Compulsory Gender and Transgender Existence:
Adrienne Rich's Queer Possibility. WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, 36(3), 279-287.
Craddock, J. (2013). Women Poets, Feminism and the Sonnet in the Twentieth and
Twenty-First Centuries: an American Narrative (Doctoral dissertation, University of
Birmingham).
Diaz-Diocaretz, M. (1985). Translating Poetic Discourse: Questions on Feminist
Strategies in Adrienne Rich (Vol. 2): John Benjamins Publishing. ISBN: 0915027534.
Farwell, M. R. (1977). Adrienne Rich and an Organic Feminist Criticism. College English,
191-203.
Hawthorne, S. (2005). The Butterfly Effect. Spinifex Press.
Heilbrun, C. G. (1982). A Response to" Writing and Sexual Difference". Critical Inquiry,
805-811.
Kirsch, M. H. (2000). Queer Theory and Social Change: Psychology Press. ISBN:
0415221846.
Kristeva, J. (1982). Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. L. Roudiez. New
York: Columbia University Press.
Levine, S. Z. (2008). Lacan Reframed: a Guide for the Arts Student. IB Tauris.
McAfee, N. (2004). Julia Kristeva: Psychology Press. ISBN: 0415250099.
Rich, A. C. (1980). On lies, Secrets and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978. W. W. Norton
& Company.
321
Rich, A. (1995). Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. WW Norton
& Company.
Rich, A. (1980). Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence. Signs, Vol. 5, No. 4,
pp. 631-660. The University of Chicago Press. URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3173834.
Ross, C. (1997). Redefinitions of Abjection in Contemporary Performances of the Female
Body. RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, 149-156. Chicago
322
Semantic Priming of Bilingual Subjects Arabic/French
and Monolingual French Subject
Ali Sassane
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to study the organization of the mental lexicon in semantic
memory through the presentation a list of imaged and abstract words to the bilingual
subjects Arabic / French and monolingual French subjects. To do this, we had used the
technique of semantic priming and we asked them to write the first three words that come
to mind. The technique of semantic priming has firstly revealed the existence of several
types of semantic relations within the same semantic network. In addition, we noticed that
there is a positive association between the words "target" and the words mentioned by our
subjects because the time allotted for the experiment was observed. On the other hand, the
words are organized in the memory semantic categories by inclusion of a set of equivalent
words according to the taxonomic model (Collins et Loftus, 1975; Collins et Quillian,
1968, 1969). Finally, the associative strength between different items is only the reflection
of the connectionist model Boutanquoi (1994), who thinks that a unit is connected to others
that if a significant number of topics associated with it.
Keywords: semantic relations, taxonomic model and connectionist model
Biodata: Dr. Sassane Ali is titular of a doctorate in sciences of the language, option
psycholinguistics, university of Franche-Comté, in France, in 2010. He taught in Algeria, at
the University of Skikda the modules of linguistics, phonetic and the psycholinguistics
from 2011-2013. Currently he is Senior Lecturer at the university of Pura Malaysia. Its
fields of research are: bilingualism, phonetics and the neurolinguistics.
1.0
Introduction
Several philosophers have interested to the memory. Aristotle, for example, in “De
Memoria and Reminiscencia” in 350 av. J-C, defines the memory as an intermediate
instrument between the thought and meaning while belonging to meaning. Thus, Tulving
(1972) considers semantic memory as a fundamental cognitive process for understanding /
language production, perception of objects and faces, etc. According to Samson (2001,
p.103), the semantic system is generally defined as "memory system representing all of our
conceptual knowledge about the world". Thus, semantic memory has often been studied
with regard to pathology, with reference to neuropsychological models. Some
neurodegenerative diseases cause dementia or semantic deficits. A fundamental question is
whether there is a degradation of semantic representations or access disorder semantic
system. This is a controversial element in certain pathologies, particularly in primary
323
progressive aphasia fluent. For some (David Moreaud and Charnallet, 2006) this aphasia
affect only the function of language and do not pose the semantic system deficit. For others
(Adlamet al., 2006; Lambon Ralph and Howard, 2000; Saffran, Coslett, Boronat and
Martin, 2003) semantic representations degrade it beyond the purely linguistic aspects and
could be considered as a variant of dementia semantics. In this sense, our literature review
allowed us to know several researchers and the different techniques used to this kind of
study. There is a pioneering study by Meyer and Schvaneveldt's (1971). They used for the
first time a primed lexical decision task. In their lexical decision task, participants were
presented with prime-target word pairs and were to decide whether the target is a word or a
non-word. Reaction times were measured in order to investigate how quickly participants
recognize words. The results showed that participants responded faster and more accurately
to target words (e.g., butter) preceded by associatively related primes (e.g., bread)
compared to target words preceded by a semantically unrelated primes (e.g., doctor). This
was defined as the “semantic priming effect”, demonstrating that if information has been
accessed, the time to retrieve its related information from memory is accelerated. The
authors hypothesized that in the semantic memory, two associated words are located closer
to each other compared to two unassociated words, thereby being rapidly accessed and
their retrieval is facilitated. Since, semantic priming paradigms have been adopted in a
considerable number of studies that aimed at determining the basic lexical-semantic
structure and exploring the nature of semantic relationships between words (e.g.,
associative and/or taxonomic, semantic similarities). Because Meyer & Scvaneveldt (1971)
used only associates (considered as basic relations between lexical items) to investigate
word processing, studies that followed tried to include other potential semantic
relationships to provide deeper information about words organization and their retrieval
(e.g., for an extensive review, see Neely, 1991). In few studies, semantic priming occurred
only for associates but not for words that were taxonomically related (e.g., Shelton &
Martin, 1992), while others found priming effects for both associatively (e.g., arm – leg)
and taxonomically (e.g., bread – cake) related word pairs (e.g., Fischler, 1977; Neely,
1977; Seidenberg, Waters, Sanders, & Langer, 1984), suggesting that both relations,
taxonomic and associative, underpin the semantic structure. However, semantic priming
was shown to be sensitive also to the degree of semantic similarity between words. In
lexical decision (e.g., word versus non-word) and semantic decision (indicate whether a
word is concrete or abstract) tasks, reaction times were shown to be faster for
taxonomically related and perceptually similar word pairs (e.g., jar – bottle; e.g., McRae &
Boisvert, 1998; Cree, McRae & McNorgan, 1999), compared to less similar word pairs
(e.g., plate – bottle; Cree et al., 1999), for which priming effects were not significant
(McRae & Boisvert, 1998). In a further study, faster reaction times were obtained for
highly similar (e.g., horse – donkey) than for less similar (e.g., bear – donkey) and
unrelated (e.g., thimble – donkey) word pairs. Also, reaction times were faster for less
similar than for unrelated word pairs (Sanchez - Casas, Ferré, Garcia-Albea, & Guasch,
2006). These findings suggest that priming effects occur in the absence of associative
relations and that similarity distance is an organizing principle of word meanings in the
semantic memory (e.g., Vigliocco, Vinson, Lewis, & Garrett, 2004).
Recently, semantic processing has been also measured by using eye-tracking
technique to investigate the relationship between eye-movements and word recognition, in
order to provide another aspect to the semantic structure. This approach has allowed studies
324
to analyse the time course of ‘on-line’ word comprehension (e.g., McRae & Boisvert,
1998; Cree et al., 1999). The idea of using eye-tracking is to explore further what has been
hypothesized by Cooper (1974):
“When people are simultaneously presented with spoken language and a visual field
containing elements semantically related to the informative items of speech, they tend to
spontaneously direct their line of sight to those elements which are most closely related to
the meaning of the language currently heard”.
Accordingly, the aim of using cross-modal paradigm was to determine whether the
presence of relevant and simultaneous non-linguistic information (e.g., image illustrating
an object), sharing different amount of features with the target influences subject’s
processing of spoken words. In accordance with the featural model (Smith, Shoben, &
Rips, 1974), the meaning of a word is based upon a set of semantic features (Vigliocco et
al., 2004). Words are considered as semantically similar if they share many features. Thus,
the membership to a semantic category is determined by the number of shared features
between items belonging to that same category. As items become more abstract, the
number of their defining features decreases. The similarity effect is reflected by stronger
activation of words with high amount of shared features compared to a weaker activation of
words with lower amount of shared features.
2.0
Semantic Relations
The results of our testing revealed the existence of several semantic relationships within the
same semantic network, but we will not all show because we preferred to keep them for
another occasion. These relationships were: relations of particularity and equivalence.
2.1
Realation De Particularisation
It raises the special link in our subjects in a number of graphs; including the terms have
typicality, explicable in terms of zoology for example, as shown in the graph.
325
Figure 1: Semantic network of “Big” among bilingual Arabic/French subjects
s/e
pants
s/a
fat
s/a
giantes
s
s/a
awesom
e
s/b
thin
s/e
bleu
s/b
fat
BIG
s/e
father
s/b
small
s/d
white
s/d
big
s/d
small
s/c
mediu
m
s//c
size
s/c
ssmall
Figure 2: Semantic network of “Big” among monolingual French subjects
326
A graph exploring typicality caught our attention: it is the abstract term "great."
Bilingual subjects were assigned the following words "God, powerful," while the French
monolingual subjects spoke of abstract and concrete tokens such as "giant, small, pants ... '.
So any reference to the idea of religion for French subjects, unlike Arabic, directly
involving the idea of grandeur and power to that of "God." Perhaps the expression frozen
"God is great", often heard among Muslims, she explains this choice? It is in this context
that we find the idea that whorfienne the sphere, where language seems to exercise a
decisive influence on thought, here is the field of religion. In this context, the words take
on a special power, since religion refers to things "hard to put into words”. The idea of
involving "large" to "God" is therefore not unimportant, because the linguistic term is
closely related to the social use made of it and which is becoming the norm. Indeed, said A.
Huxley, the word forms the mind of the person using it.
"The conduct and character are largely determined by the nature of the words we
commonly use to talk about ourselves and the world around us" (1940, p. 9).
2.2
Equivalence Relation
This relation expresses the identity of a concept and another. This link is used to represent
synonymy relations between words. For example, the word "sun" may be synonymous with
warmth, good weather and entertainment. Regarding the synonymy, many studies
underline the words stored in our semantic memory, from semantic fields. But one does not
keep long words which we do not know well the meaning, writes so well Vygotsky:
"A private word meaning is not a word, it is an empty sound." (P. 321).
For the author,
"The meaning of the word is a phenomenon of verbal thought or language
endowed with meaning. It is the unity of word and thought. "(P. 321)
Several studies suggest that different types of links that structure the mental lexicon
are substantially the same as that in L1 L2. This was demonstrated through the timed task
of visual recognition of words. When identifying a word "target" is facilitated by the
identification of an immediately preceding word "context" (for example, identification of
the word "range" will be accelerated by the prior identification of the word "sand" ), one
speaks of an effect "seed" that operates automatically (Collins and Loftus, 1975). The
identification of the context word "prime" the lexical system and allows an "activation" of
other lexical representations in the lexical network with links that structure.
327
s/e
books
s/b
To read
s/a
culture
s/a
books
s/b
books
s/e
history
s/b
culture
Librar
y
s/e
civilizatio
n
s/b
peace
s/d
study
s/d
books
s//c
To
read
s/c
biblio
graph
y
s/c
books
Figure 3: Semantic network of “Library” among bilingual Arabic/French subjects
s/e
books
s/a
books
s/a
serious
s/a
The
work
s/b
books
s/e
docume
nts
s/b
literatu
re
Librar
y
s/e
many
s/b
Médiath
èque
s/d
books
s/d
silence
s/c
books
s/c
univer
sity
s//c
childh
ood
Figure 4: Semantic network of “Library” among monolingual French subjects
328
We underline that the different words evoked by the words "targets" of the three
graphs are selected based on their numbers of occurrences and semantic link, for example:
"library / books, documents, ...". It is observed that these graphs show a priming effect
between the different associations of target words. Thus, when a concept is activated, it
will automatically generate activation to the related concepts in the network. First the word
"library" spoke in bilinguals’ learners’ words representing a positive association. The word
"library" is directly associated with "books, reading, study, research." This same word
"library" spoke "books, documents, work." These tokens represent a strong association to
the target word "library".
This influence is generally results in facilitation are summarized:



Retrieving a stored item corresponds to the activation of its internal
representation.
Activation diffuses within a network traces / nodes / interconnected concepts.
Activation of the accumulation of a concept facilitates later retrieval.
Thus the organization of semantic memory results in a set of interconnected nodes
according to their semantic relationships, where each node represents a concept. More
nodes are semantically / associatively connected. Thus the priming effects can be easily
understood: When the participant processes the priming activation of the corresponding
concept diffuses into the network to the strongly connected and / similar concepts. This
facilitates oral communication for each person including those who speak in foreign
language. Incidentally, Lucien Tesnière underlines:
“The connection is indispensible to expression of thought. Without the connection,
we would not be able to express any continuous thought, and we could only list as
succession of images and ideas isolated from each other and without any link between
them” (Lucien Tesnières, 1959, p. 1).
3.0
Taxonomic Model
There are the models of network Quillian and Collins (1969); Collins and Loftus (1975
which are responsible for the architectural representation of the memory as a broad
semantic network within which the information is coded and organized abstractly,
modeless, and relatively permanent in semantic memory. The model of Collins and
Quillian (1969) makes the assumption of a hierarchical organization represented in the
form of interconnected nodes. The network model of Collins and Loftus (1975) takes up
the idea of Quillian and Collins (1969) but without emphasizing the importance of
hierarchical structure. Furthermore, Collins and Quillian (1969) introduce the taxonomic
model of semantic memory. These organization categories by inclusion of set of similar
objects at the same level organization. These inclusions define the level of abstraction, and
are defined as the implementation of a relationship (ISA). For instance, “the canary is a
bird” lead to structuring the memory organized category according to the principal of
economy of language. We can illustrate this in from an example from our subjects.
329
Figure 5 illustrating the taxonomic organization of property relations (Prop) and definition
(ISA / IS), the semantic network of "BIRD".
The interest of taxonomic organization is that each node inherits the properties of
nodes that are supra-ordered it. For Quillian and Collins (1969), the existence of such a
hierarchical organization is evidenced by the fact that the audit time as `` is `` canari``
bird`` is faster than the time required to check that the `` `` is a canari`` animal``. The
researches of Landauer and Freeman (68) as well as those of Juola and Atkinson (71) have
also shown that the response time dependent on the number of elements of the given class.
In addition, the taxonomic organization has helped to highlight the existence of different
types of links in the two groups:




4.0
three types of taxonomic relations associate hyperonym designates (the word
"elephant" is associated with "animal"), the hyponym (the word "hand" is
associated with "sewing machine") or item category is at the same level (the word
"sparrow" is associated with "eagle" ...);
Two attributes relations part / all (answer "needle" at the beginning "sewing
machine"; all / part ("library" response to the bait "books";
physical characteristics ("gray" response to the bait "elephant");
Agent: the partner refers the agent of the verb: Response "bite" at the beginning
"snake".
Connexionnist Model
This model was proposed by Boutanquoi, to account for the different strengths of
association. According to him, one could imagine that a unit is connected to other that if a
significant number of subjects associated with it, and therefore the system is governed by
all or nothing (spread or not a same rate activation); activation spreads when the
association has reached a certain value. Thus the reading of figure 5 shows that:
330
s/e
poison
s/a
crawl
s/a
bite
s/b
venomm
s/b
reptile
s/e
deadly
s/b
venom
SNAK
s/e
venom
s/b
crocodil
e
s/d
danger
s/d
difficulty
s/c
turning
s/c
veno
m
s//c
cobra
Figure 5: Semantic network of “Snake” among bilingual Arabic/French subjects
s/e
bite
s/a
venom
ous
s/a
jungle
s/a
flute
s/b
couleuv
re
s/e
far
s/b
long
SNAK
s/e
long
s/b
mouse
s/d
viper
s/d
bell
s/c
crawl
s//c
poison
s/c
bite
331
Figure 6: Semantic network of « Snake » among monolingual French subjects



Associative forces between tokens may vary from one public to another. If
number of subjects gave the same associative answer is only a reflection of the
associative strength between these words;
Associations are symmetrical: the presentation of the word "elephant", three
French students answered "wrong, big", however both Arabic-speaking students
answered "wrong, big".
Associative responses are different in nature: some designate a characteristic that
is usually co-occurrent "wrong, wholesale memory" other place "jungle, Africa,
India," and still others a categorization "mammal".
We can represent the shape of the mental map, entry and exit of the stimulus,
through the figure 6; that is to say that the stimulus "snake" awakens in us: first, a location
"forest, jungle" and a property of the "snake", "or venom / poison." This first step is
referred to as "intermediate cards"; then the link between the two aforementioned elements
"forest, jungle / venom, poison."
Finally, we associate through the "exit card" stimulus "snake" and produces
"poison". This implies that the idea of "snake" is automatically associated with the idea of
the `` poison``.
Figure 6, illustration the associative strength of the word "ELEPHANT" and the
number of occurrences among bilingual and monolingual subjects.
NB. 1, 2, ... = number of occurrence / S= subjects ; B=Bilinguals subjects;
M=Monolinguals subjects
332
5.0
Conclusion
The technic of semantic priming, we find that the words are stored in memory as semantic
networks. They express different relationships between them-as a taxonomic organization
and connectionist concepts. However, these models suffer from the following
shortcomings:
Le modèle hiérarchique de Collins et de Loftus (1975) et de Collins et Quillian
(1969) montre bien Que la RAPIDITE Avec Laquelle les Sujets traitent CERTAINS
concepts lorsqu`il s`agit de concepts based on the prototype who include the notion of
typicality. Thus, the processing time of a node depends directly on the position of the node
in the hierarchy (the nodes on-ordained should be processed more quickly than the ordered
sub-nodes). However, this assumption does not explain the effects of inversion levels and
representative highlighted by Rips Shoben and Smith in 1973 (derived from experimental
results of Quillian and Collins in 1969) and the category of effect grammatical (Ji, Lemaire,
and Ploux Choo, 2008). In addition, we talk about levels of inversion effect when
participants are quick to say that "dog" is an "animal" rather than "mammal", while in the
lexical network concept "mammal "is subject to" animal "and therefore closer to the" dog
"concept. These effects are particularly noted for some categories, particularly that of
mammals. Moreover, the representative effect corresponds to faster responses to verify that
an item belongs to a category if this item is typical of this category. And "pigeon" is more
representatives that "Ostrich" for the "bird" category. These differences in treatment
between more or less prototypical items of the same category cannot be explained by a
hierarchical organization in which they all share similar relationships with their superordered concepts. Finally, organize everything according to a hierarchy is not always easy.
For example, names are easier to prioritize, categorize as verbs or adverbs: what is the
effect of speech. In this sense, the model proposed by Boutanquoi did not address the
connectionist system as a whole, namely the description of the properties of neurons, which
are organized in layers. Then they inhibit completive to form a layer at the time of
activation, each neuron projecting an inhibitor link to all other neurons on the map,
according to the Entrance card (input), output (out put) and Intermediaries of cards for each
token that collects all the links to which it is associated.
333
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335
The Effects of Online Glosses on Vocabulary Learning
through Reading
Wan Zulkifli Wan Kassim
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
One of the important components in second language acquisition is vocabulary.
Researchers have debated whether vocabulary can be effectively learned through reading.
Studies have shown that vocabulary learning was enhanced if the texts contained glosses.
Glosses are definitions or synonyms in L1 or L2, supplied for unfamiliar words in the texts
to facilitate reading comprehension. One theory that may explain the effectiveness of
glosses is Schmidt’s noticing hypothesis which states that learners must “notice” a form in
the input and show signs of awareness before the input can be processed further. With
digital or online texts, it is easy to gloss unfamiliar words through hyperlinks. It can
therefore be argued that digital reading promotes better noticing or awareness since readers
need to click on the unfamiliar words to access their definitions. Thus the present study
investigates the effects of online glosses versus traditional glosses in printed text on L2
vocabulary acquisition. Group 1 (control group), group 2 (printed-gloss group), and group
3 (online-gloss group) completed the target-word vocabulary pre-test. Then each group was
instructed to read a text, with group 1 reading the text with target words unglossed, group 2
reading the printed text with target words glossed, and group 3 reading the online text with
target words hyperlinked to online glosses. As they completed the tasks, their thinkingaloud was tape recorded. Immediately after the experiment, they completed a postttest.
Three weeks later, all three groups completed a delayed posttest. The data underwent
qualitative and quantitative analysis. The results and pedagogical implications will be
discussed.
Keywords: Vocabulary, Glosses, Noticing Hypothesis, CALL
Biodata: Wan Zulkifli Wan Kassim is an English lecturer at Universiti Malaysia
Terengganu. He has been teaching various English courses such as English for Special
Purposes, Public Speaking, and Academic Wrting Skills for the past 10 years. His research
interest is in Applied Linguistics, particularly Computer Assisted Language Learning
(CALL).
1.0
Introduction
One of the important components of language is vocabulary. Lewis states that “Lexis is the
core or heart of language” (Lewis, 1993). Without sufficient vocabulary, people cannot
understand others or express their own ideas. As Wilkins puts it “…while without grammar
very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed” (Wilkins, 1972,
pp111-1112). Because of the importance of vocabulary, second language researchers have
336
been experimenting with different methods of vocabulary instructions to find those that
better promote vocabulary learning. One of the methods is incidental learning through
reading. It has been shown that much vocabulary is learned incidentally in context during
reading (Ellis, 1995; Krashen 1989; Saragi, Nation & Meister, 1978, cited in Horst, Cobb
& Meara, 1998).
One type of reading enhancement that has positive effects on incidental
vocabulary learning is glosses. Glosses are short definitions or synonyms, either in L1 or
L2 (Nation, 1983) and are often supplied for unfamiliar words to facilitate reading
comprehension. They are typically located in the side or in the bottom margins of the
reading texts (Lomicka, 1998). Glosses provide accurate meanings of difficult words that
may be impossible or difficult to guess using contexts (Nation, 2001). Glosses also help to
limit dictionary consultation that may interrupt the L2 reading process (Bowles, 2004).
Several studies have provided supports on the effectiveness of glosses in enhancing
incidental vocabulary learning through reading in comparison with contextual guessing of
word meaning and dictionary consultation (Hustijn, Hollander, & Greidanus, 1996;
Watanabe, 1997; Jacobs, Dufon, & Hong Cheng, 1994; Rashkovsky, 1999) Rashkovsky
(1999) for example found that students who had access to marginal glosses showed greater
incidental vocabulary learning when compared to students who read an unglossed text.
Hulstijn, Hollander, and Greidanus (1996) found that students with access to marginal
glosses scored higher than those with access to dictionaries.
Following the technological advancement of multimedia computing, researchers
began to transfer the concept of glossing reading texts to an online environment (Yanguas,
2009). Glosses can be made accessible through hyperlinks that are attached to target words
in the reading texts. Researchers suggest several benefits of online glosses. Davis and
Lyman-Hager (1997) posit that online glosses are appealing, unlike traditional marginal
glosses in the printed form. Davis (1989) favors the unintrusive nature of online glosses.
He notes that, due to hypertext technology, online glosses can be made invisible until they
are accessed by the readers. Several studies have examined different aspects of glossing in
an online environment. Nagata (1999) and Gettys, Imhof, and Kautz (2001) compared the
effects of single-meaning glosses and multiple-choice glosses on vocabulary learning. De
Ridder (2000, 2002) investigated the typographical effect of glossed words on vocabulary
learning. Koren (1999) compared the effects of glosses and clue sentences on the retention
of words. Velazquez (2001) examined the effect of single-format glosses and multi-format
glosses on vocabulary learning. Hegelheimer (1998) explored the effects of textual and
sentence-level audio glosses on vocabulary learning. Yoshii and Flaitz (2002), AlSeghayer
(2001) and Chun and Plass (1996) investigated the effectiveness of visual glosses.
While there have been many studies separately focusing on the effectiveness of
marginal glosses and different aspects of online glosses, few studies have empirically
compared the effects of online glosses and printed marginal glosses on vocabulary
learning. This is a valid area for research within the context of Schmidt’s (1990) noticing
hypothesis. The hypothesis states that learners must “notice” a form in the input and show
signs of awareness before the input can be processed further. In other words, linguistic
input must be noticed for acquisition to happen. Learners are most likely to notice
linguistic form during interaction and the most useful interactions are those which help
337
learners comprehend the semantic and syntax of input. In the case of reading text with
glosses, interaction occurs when readers read the text and consult glosses to know the
meaning of unknown words. The amount of interactions that occurs when reading a printed
text and online text is different. It can be argued that there is more interaction between the
reader and the text in online environment, hence more noticing. For example, the reader
can increase the font size of the reading text and scroll the text up and down if needed. In
addition, the reader needs to interact more with the hyperlinked glossed words to access
meaning by clicking the words as opposed to simply glancing at the marginal glosses in the
printed text.
One related study was published by Lyman-Hager, Davis, Burnett, and Chennault
(1993). In the study, 262 college students taking intermediate French were randomly
assigned to printed-gloss condition and online-gloss condition. Participants in both groups
read a selected passage from an authentic French text, Une Vie De Boy. Participants in
the online-gloss group read the text and consulted the glosses provided in the computer
program, whereas participants in the printed-gloss group read the printed text and referred
to the printed glosses. Participants in the online-gloss group were monitored using various
tracking mechanisms that record their activities including time on task, number of
keystrokes, and number of requests for word definitions. However, participants in the
printed-gloss group were not monitored. Subsequently, the participants completed a survey
evaluating the software and the passage. Then they went through a recall protocol, writing
in English the significant points they remembered from the passage. The following week
the participants discussed the passage in their class with their classroom teachers and took a
vocabulary test consisting of the twenty glossed words that the teachers had determined
were essential to understanding the passage. For analysis, data from 35 participants in the
printed-gloss group and 37 participants in the online-gloss group were used. Results of an
Independent Samples t-test indicated that the mean scores (14.14 for the online-gloss group
and 11.69 for the printed-gloss group) for vocabulary test were significantly different.
Separate Mann-Whitney U tests revealed that there were no significant differences between
either group’s questionnaire responses prior to the study. Lyman-Hager et al. took the
findings as evidence that the online glosses aided vocabulary retention better than the
printed glosses.
Bowles (2004) conducted a similar study after pointing some limitations in the
study by Lyman-Hager et al. (1993). Some of these included the absence of pre-test of
target words, uncontrolled time on task, no tracking of glosses consulted in the printedgloss group, and the absence of immediate post-experiment vocabulary test. Another
important element Bowles (2004) considered missing in Lyman Hager et al.’s study was
measurement of noticing (Schdmit, 1990). Bowles (2004) aimed to find out if online
glosses led to more noticing of the target words and if online glosses led to more
acquisition of the target words. Participants for the study were fifty English-speaking
participants enrolled in college-level first-year Spanish-language courses. They were
assigned to three groups—18 in the control group, 18 in the printed-gloss group, and 14 in
the online-gloss group. The participants read a 568-word Internet-based passage from an
online supplement in the Spanish newspaper El mundo. Twenty-one words were
considered unknown and therefore were glossed. The control group read the text without
glosses. The printed-gloss group read the text with glosses in the right-hand margin. The
338
online-gloss read the online text with the glossed words hyperlinked and when clicked
would display the definitions in the right corner of the computer screen. Participants took
the pretest containing the target words two weeks prior to the experiment. During the
experiment, participants read the text in the three conditions are were also asked to think
aloud into the tape recorder. Immediate posttest followed and three weeks later the
participants took the delayed posttest. The results indicated that readers exposed to printed
glosses and online glosses noticed the target words significantly more than those reading
text without glosses. However, there was no significant difference in the amout of noticing
between the printed-gloss group and the online-gloss group. As for the acquisition of the
target words, the results indicated that readers exposed to printed glosses and online glosses
learned the target words significantly more than those reading text without glosses.
However, there was no significant difference in the number of target words learned
between the printed-gloss group and the online-gloss group.
The relatively sparse research on online glosses and printed marginal glosses has
left room for further research. Therefore, using the research designed employed Bowles
(2004) the present study was conducted to address these questions:
1.
Do readers exposed to online glosses substantially notice more unknown words
than those exposed to printed glosses?
2.
Do readers exposed to online glosses substantially learn more unknown words
than those exposed to printed glosses?
2.0
Methods
2.1
Participants
The participants were fifty first-year Malaysian undergraduate students from a public
university in the East Coast of Malaysia. Their English proficiency was at low-intermediate
level as reflected by their Band 1 and Band 2 results in the Malaysian University English
Test (MUET). They were selected based on their vocabulary pretest score which was 6 or
less out of 21 (a chance score). They were already in three intact groups enrolled in firstyear English course and no modifications were made to them during the experiment. The
control group consisted of 18 students, the printed-gloss consisted of 18 students, and the
online-gloss grou consisted of 14 students.
2.2
Materials and Instruments
2.2.1
Reading Text
The reading text used in the study was adapted from previous research (Wan Kassim, W. Z,
2007). It was 489 words long, with the language level suitable for low-intermediate adult
English learners. Its structure was syntactically simple and topic familiar (a teenager
anxiously waiting for his examination results). Twenty-one words in the text that might not
be known to low-intermediate English learners were chosen to be glossed. The text was
339
printed without any modifications on an A4 size paper to be used in the control group. In
the text for the printed-gloss group, the glossed words were in bold and their definitions in
Malay were displayed in the left hand margin. The text for the online-gloss group was
converted into a web page using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and published
online. Each of the glossed words in the online text was hyperlinked using Cascading Style
Sheet (CSS) script to a small popup window that contained its Malay definition. The design
of the hyperlink followed the standard found on most websites so that participants would
know the glossed words were clickable. When participants clicked a hyperlinked word
during the reading activity, the popup window would be displayed above the word. To
make the popup window disappear, participants needed to click on the X icon at the top
right corner of the popup window.
2.2.2
Vocabulary Test
The vocabulary test consisted of twenty-one multiple-choice questions. Each question
tested the participants’ knowledge of the target word that had been glossed in the reading
text. The target words were sequenced alphabetically, not in the order that they appeared in
the text. For each target word, five Malay distracters, along with the correct Malay
translation, were provided so as to reduce the potential to guess the correct answers (Jones
& Plass, 2002). The distracters had been carefully chosen to ensure that they were not
obviously wrong. Each correct answer received one point, with a maximum possible score
of twenty-one points. The test was administered to the participants three times, once as
pretest prior to the experiment and twice as posttest after the experiment. The purpose of
the pretest was to assess the participants’ prior knowledge of the target words. Only those
participants with a score of 6 or less (a chance score) were included in the study.
2.2.3
Tracking Instruments
To determine which glossed words the participants in the online-gloss group consulted
during the reading activity, a tracking code was embedded in the web page to record which
hyperlinks the participants clicked. After the participants had finished with the experiment,
a log file would be generated for analysis. For the printed-gloss group and the control
group, no direct tracking was possible; therefore, the participants in the printed-glosss
group were asked to circle the words for which they consulted the glosses, and those in the
control group to circle any unknown words they encountered during their reading.
2.2.4
Think-aloud Protocol
To establish participants’noticing of target words during reading, they were instructed to
think their thoughts aloud either in English or Malay as they went through the text so that a
recording software could record their voice.
2.3
Procedure
Two weeks before the experiment, the participants took the vocabulary pretest during their
regular English class time. They were not informed of the subsequent research experiment
that would be conducted.
340
The experiment was conducted two weeks later in the language laboratory at the
participants’ university. All fifty participants sat in their respective groups in front of
computer stations equipped with a microphone and a recording software that had been
switched on and ready for voice recording. The participants in the control group were given
the reading text without any glosses and those in the printed-gloss group were supplied
with the reading text with glosses. The participants in the online-gloss group were asked to
refer to the online reading text on the computer screen. All participants were instructed to
wear the recording equipment and proceed with the reading activity. They were also
reminded to vocalize their thoughts aloud either in English or Malay for recording.
Participants who remained silent for more than one minute were asked to resume their
thinking aloud. The activity was completed in 25 minutes.
Next, the participants in the control group and the printed-gloss group were asked
to return the reading text. The participants in the online-gloss group were asked to close the
reading text on the computer screen. They were then given an immediate posttest which
was similar to the pretest.
Three weeks after the reading activity, a delayed posttest containing the same
target words as in the pretest and the immediate posttest was administered to all
participants during their regular English class time.
3.0
Results
Research question one asked whether readers exposed to online glosses substantially notice
more unknown words than those exposed to printed glosses. To answer this question, data
on noticing was collected for the control group, the printed-gloss group, and the onlinegloss group. From the recorded think-aloud protocol, noticing was established when
participants mentioned the glossed words out loud; or made comments about the glossed
words such as guessing the meaning or admitting not knowing the meaning. Noticing was
also established when participants circled the target words or clicked on the hyperlinked
words.
A one-way between subjects ANOVA was conducted to compare the effect of
gloss format on noticing in online-gloss, printed-gloss and no-gloss (control group)
conditions (Table 1). There was a significant effect of gloss format on noticing at the p<.05
level for the three conditions [F(2,47) = 46.52, p = 0.0001]. Post hoc comparison using the
Scheffe test indicated that the mean scores for the online-gloss condition (M=17.93,
SD=4.984) and the printed-gloss condition (M=16.67, SD=5.018) were significantly
different than the no-gloss condition (M=3.67, SD=4.366). However, the online-gloss
condition did not significantly differ from the printed-gloss condition.
341
Table 1: Noticing: ANOVA for Group
Source
Between
Groups
Within
Groups
Total
df
Mean Squares
F
P
2
Sums of
Squares
2128.289
1064.145
46.528
0.0001
47
1074.928
22.870
49
3203.221
Research question two asked whether readers exposed to online glosses
substantially learn more unknown words than those exposed to printed glosses. A Factorial
ANOVA was conducted to compare the main effects of gloss format and time and the
interaction effect between gloss format and time on the retention of vocabulary words
(Table 2). Gloss format included three levels (no gloss, printed-gloss, online-gloss) and
time consisted of three levels (before, immediate, 3-week delay). All effects were
statistically significant at the p<.05 level. The main effect of gloss format yielded an F ratio
of F(2, 47)=10.203, p=0.0001, indicating a significant difference between no-gloss,
printed-gloss, and online-gloss conditions. The main effect for time yielded an F ratio of
F(2, 47)=64.048, p=0.0001, indicating that the effect for time was also significant. The
interaction effect between gloss format and time was also significant [F(4,47)=6.914,
p=0.0001]. Post hoc comparison using the Scheffe test indicated that the main effects of
online-gloss format and printed-gloss format were significantly different than the no-gloss
format. However, the online-gloss format did not significantly differ from the printed-gloss
format.
Table 2: Vocabulary Scores: ANOVA for Group and Time
Source
Group
2
Sums of
Squares
310.992
Time
2
681.877
340.930
64.046
0.0001
Group x
Time
4
147.221
36.800
6.911
0.0001
4.0
df
Mean Squares
F
P
155.489
10.203
0.0001
Discussion
Research question one asked whether readers exposed to online glosses substantially notice
more unknown words than those exposed to printed glosses. This question was built on the
premise that when readers read online text with online glosses they interact more with the
glosses in the form of clicking them to access the meaning. More interactions then would
lead to more noticing. The results did not support the above. While there was a significant
342
difference in the amount of noticing between the gloss groups and the no-gloss group, there
was no significant difference between the online-gloss group and the printed-gloss group.
The results were similar to those from Bowles’s study (2004). It was to be expected that the
gloss groups would notice more unknown words than the no-gloss group. One of the
influences on noticing is the perceptual salience of the input (Cross, 2002). The more
prominent a language form at input, the greater the chance it will be noticed (Skehan,
1998). One of the ways to make an input more prominent is by textually enhancing it with
bold font or an underline as can be found when words are glossed. It stands to reason that
words that were glossed were noticed more due to this perceptual salience. As for the
online glosses leading to more noticing of unknown words than the printed glosses, the
results did not support this expectation. It appears that the additional interactions during
reading online text did not trigger more noticing.
Research question two asked whether readers exposed to online glosses
substantially learn more unknown words than those exposed to printed glosses. The results
indicated that readers exposed to gloses in either the printed format or the online format
learned significantly more words than readers reading the text without glosses. However,
there was no significant difference in the amount of words learned between readers in the
online-gloss group and those in the printed-gloss group. The results were similar to those
from Bowles’s study (2004). It was to be expected that gloss groups would learn more
words than the no-gloss group. When learners read text with some unknown lexical items,
they should be expected to notice vocabulary which hinder their progress in reading for
meaning (Hegelheimer & Chapelle, 2000). They then need to receive modified input as
either L1 transalation or L2 simplification to make the input intake, and therefore make it
potential for acquisition. The modified input was not given to the readers in the no-gloss
group, thus preventing the input from becoming an intake for acquisition. The groups with
glosses however were given the modified input in the form of L1 translation and thus were
able to process the words further for acquisition. As for the online glosses leading to more
words learned as a result of more noticing than the printed glosses, the results did not
support this expectation. It appears that the additional interactions during reading online
text did not make more inputs as intakes for acqusition.
4.1
Limitations
The present study had several limitations. Firstly, the sample size was small (18 in the
control group, 18 in the printed-gloss group, 14 in the online-gloss group). Using a larger
sample size for each group would be more representative of the population and could
increase the statistical power of the results. Secondly, participants belonged to one level of
ESL competency which was low-intermediate. Therefore, the findings should not be
extrapolated to other levels of language competencies. Thirdly, only one experiment was
conducted; therefore the long-term effect of the treatments cannot be determined. The
nature of this type of study makes it challenging to conduct multiple experiments. If the
experiments are repeated, the results may not reflect the real effect as the first experiment
will increase awareness in participants in subsequent experiments.
343
4.2
Future Research
The results from this study indicated that the technological feature available in the online
glosses did not really provide any advantages when compared to printed glosses. This was
deducted based on the assumption that both printed glosses and online glosses provide
similar modified input which was L1 translations of the target words. However, in online
reading environment, the methods of glossing can be expanded even further. Online texts
can incorporate more extensive glosses compared to printed texts (Davis & Lyman-Hager,
1997). Unknown words can be glossed not only textually but also visually, with graphics,
pictures, animation, or video (Chun & Plass, 1996). In addition, the hypertext technology
links all these resources together and makes them accessible at a click of a mouse. More
research can be conducted to study the effects of these hypermedia glosses on vocabulary
learning through reading.
344
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347
The Flouting of Maxims in Cross Cultural Understanding Class
Jaufillaili1, Dian Farijanti2, Agus Wirabhakti3
1
UNSWAGATI, Indonesia, [email protected]
UNSWAGATI, Indonesia, [email protected]
3
UNSWAGATI, Indonesia, [email protected]
2
Abstract
Communication is commonly used to deliver messages. To get the messages clearer, the
participants may ask questions and the answer of the questions will be given by other
participants. The interesting thing happens in the communication process is when the
answer of the question flouts the maxims. It will be more interesting when such
phenomenon happens during teaching and learning process in the classrooms where every
information is needed to be given as clear as possible by the teachers or lecturers. Based on
the reason, The writers were interested to observe and to analyze the flouting of maxims in
one of Cross Cultural Understanding (CCU) classes of English education Department of
Unswagati Cirebon. It is a case study. The writers applied qualitative research and
explained the data descriptively. Grice’s theories of maxims and cooperative principles
were used to analyze the data. The data were the conversation between the lecturer and the
students of CCU class which had been recorded during teaching-learning process in the
classroom. The focus was on the lecturer when he answered the students’ questions. The
writers analyzed the lecturer’s answer which flouted the maxims.
Keywords: conversation, flouting, maxims
Biodata: The writers are the lecturers of English Education Department, Faculty of
Teachers Training and Educational Sciences of Unswagati, Cirebon - Indonesia. The first
writer has been teaching English since 2002, the second writer has been teaching since
1996, while the third writer has been teaching since 2006. All writers are interested in
applied linguistics researches.
Introduction
Teacher – students interaction in the classroom influences the goal or target of the teaching
process. It also gives contribution to the students’ achievement. More challenging fact
happens when it is in an English class where English is taught as a foreign language and
the students’ mother tongue are various. In this case, students are hoped to reach the goal of
the learning which is delivered in English and teacher’s explanation could lead the students
to reach the learning target. One common way usually happens in the learning-teaching
process in the classroom is question-answer session. In that session a teacher/lecturer offers
students to ask questions related to the teaching material that had just been given.
Deliberately or not, a teacher does not always answer the students’ questions directly and
obviously. In this case, the teacher breaks cooperative principle or breaks/flouts the
maxims. Often students have to absorb what the point of the teacher’s explanation/answer
is. The case happened at one of the third grades of English Education Department of
Unswagati Cirebon, academic year 2014/2015. The data were recorded during the teaching
348
and learning process of Cross Cultural Understanding (CCU) subject in the classroom. The
students’ mother tongues in that class are various. They speak Cirebonese, Sundanese and
Indonesian. The lecturer is Sundanese. Cirebonese and Sundanese are two of many tribal
languages in Indonesia.
How are the Maxims Flouted?
People, deliberately or not, sometimes or in some cases often flout the maxims. Based on
the co-operative principle developed by H.P. Grice (1967/1987) states that in conversation
we have to answer or respond other people’s questions/talk based on what is required or
based on what is being asked, no more or less. To give more explanation about how the cooperative principle works, Grice classified it into four maxims (Black, 2006: 23), namely:
Maxim of Quantity
1.
Make your contribution as informative as is required (for the current purposes of
the exchange).
2. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.
Maxim of Quality
1. Do not say what you believe to be false.
2. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.
Maxim of Relation
Be relevant.
Maxim of Manner
1. Avoid obscurity of expression.
2. Avoid ambiguity.
3. Be brief.
4. Be orderly.
The maxims are not always observed, and the failure to do so can take anumber of
forms. There are five ways of failing to observe a maxim (Thomas, 1995: 64), they are:
flouting a maxim, violating a maxim, infringing a maxim, opting out of a maxim,
suspending maxim.
Thomas (1995: 65) stated that A flout occurs when a speaker blatantly fails to
observe a maxim at the level of what is said, with the deliberate intention of generating an
implicature. Flouting is the most interesting way of breaking a maxim. It is the situation in
which a speaker blatantly fails to observe a maxim, not with any intention of deceiving or
misleading, but because the speaker wishes the listener to look for a meaning which is
different from, or hidden from what is being said by the speaker, called the implied
meaning. Below are the examples of conversation/dialogues that flout each maxim which
has been explained above:
1. Flouts exploiting the maxim of quality
Flouts which exploit the maxim of quality occur when the speaker says something which is
blatantly untrue or for which he or she lacks of adequate evidence.
Example;
A: What do you do?
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B: I’m a teacher.
C: Where do you teach?
B: Outer Mongolia
A: Sorry I asked!
(taken from Thomas, 1995: 68)
The conversation above was taken place on the train. A and B was on a long train
journey. B wanted to read her book, while A tried to break the ice. A started the
conversation. B’s answer about outer Mongolia, which is seen somewhere impossibly
remote was caught by A as the way B ‘kicked him out’ from the conversation. The funny
thing about this example was B really did teach in outer Mongolia.
2. Flouts exploiting the maxim of quantity
A flouts of the maxim of quantity occurs when a speaker blatantly gives more or less
information than the situation requires.
Example:
Arthur: “Today on the school bus a little boy fell off his seat and everybody laughed
except me.”
Teacher: “Who was the little boy?”
Arthur: “Me.”
(Yamaguchi, quoted in Attardo, 1994: 280).
The conversation in the example above flouts or breaks the maxim of quantity since the
first speaker is not providing required information by withholding the important
information about he himself who fell off his seat. He used the generic word “boy” instead
of “me” which is appropriate as the required answer from the teacher’s question.
3. Flouts exploiting the maxim of relation
The speaker flouts the maxim of relation when he/she does not give relevant contribution in
conversation with others.
Example:
I finished working on my face. I grabbed my bag and a coat. I told mother I was going
out... She asked me where I was going. I repeated myself. ‘Out’. (taken from Thomas,
1995: 70).
In the example above, the speaker makes a response which is true, obvious, etc., and it
answers her mother’s question. What it does not do is fullfil her mother’s aim in asking the
question: her mother can see that her daughter is going out, what she wants to know is the
place or location where her daughter is going. The answer is not relevant with the question.
4. Flouts exploiting the maxim of manner
The conversation below shows that the speaker means to let the listener in ambiguity.
Example:
“Constantinople is a very long word, can you spell it?
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(taken from Chiaro, 1992: 44).
There are two possible answers for the question above. The listener might answer by
spelling out ‘Constantinople’ or ‘it’. The listener will be wrong because it can refer to both
‘constantinople’ or ‘it’. Therefore the example above flouts the maxim of manner, namely
‘avoid ambiguity’.
5. Flouts necessitated by a clash between maxims
When the conversation flouts more than one maxim, it could be two, three, or even four
maxims at once, it is called flouts necessitated by a clash between maxims. The following
example (taken from Thomas,1995: 66) is the conversation which flouts two maxims at
once:
Example:
A is asking B about mutual friend’s new boyfriend.
A: Is he nice?
B: She seems to like him.
In the example above, B gives a weak and less informative response. Actually he
could simply answers ‘no’ which gives the appropriate information possible in the
situation. B’s answer is much weaker and less informative and it shows a clash between
two maxims. It flouts maxim of quantity (B speaks only on the basis of the evidence he
has) and at the same time, it also flouts the maxim of quality (B cannot say for certain
whether the new boyfriend is nice or not).
Procedures of Collecting the Data
It is a qualitative research and the data are analyzed qualitatively. The data source is the
record of learning-teaching process during Cross Cultural Understanding class (questionanswer session between the lecturer and the students) at one of the third grades of English
Education Department of Unswagati Cirebon, West Java, Indonesia, academic year
2014/2015.
The research method is based on Creswell who stated that in descriptive method
the researcher is interested in process, meaning, and understanding gained through words
or pictures (1994: 145). There were some procedures used to collect and analyze the data in
this research, namely:
1.
2.
3.
The writer recorded the question-answer session between the
students and lecturer during Cross Cultural Understanding (CCU)
class at one of the third grades of English Education Department of
UNSWAGATI Cirebon, Indonesia, academic year 2014/2015.
The recorded data were observed by watching and transcribing the
dialogues between the lecturer and the students. The focus was on
the lecturer’s answers.
The data (the lecturer’s anwers during the CCU class) are analyzed
and classified based on Grice’s theories of the Cooperative Principle
351
and maxims (gazdar, 1979; Leech, 1990; Yule, 2000; Grundy, 2000;
Black, 2006).
Result and Analysis
I.
Data Presentation
Below is the conversation between the lecturer and the students in one of Cross Cultural
Understanding classes during question-answer session transcribed by the writers:
1.
Student
: Why not in American be the first in making friendship with
foreigner?
Lecturer
: Why American rarely starts friendship; ya why, kenapa mereka tida
memulai dari awal? Any others, saya tampung dulu?
2. Student
: In America there is circle of friend; why in America there is
sport friend, close friend, and sport friend?
Lecturer
: First question, why American don’t start friendship; firstly we have to
remember that American really value personal space; personal information, so sometimes
when meeting new people, they don’t start making conversation because ether afraid of
there is some questions that are critical, menyinggung, to the person; that’s why they start
conversation by making small talks.
About circle of friends, I think it’s not only in America, but also in Indonesia; we
have friends in campus, right, we have friends in kosan, in nongkrong, in shopping. How
many circle of friends you have. Wiranti, how many close friends you have in campus. You
have also friends, like in kosan, tetangga … anak cowok, you have sport friends,
pengajian friends, futsal friend. Why it happens? Because in different context we make
friends. In campus, we make friends, there are so many circle of friends. Not only in
American, I think, but also circle friends happen in indonesia.
Next question pelase, saya kasih nilai pengganti tampil ke depan. It should be in
english. If you have no questions, then I will ask you questions. Mending bertanya atau
ditanya.
3. Student
: What about family background and education in America?
Lecturer
: Begini, what is the difference between family in Indonesian and family
in english? How many people in your family. So many members. Because in indonesia
everyone who has blood ties is family, uw, pama, teteh, is family. But in the us, in
english, family is everyone who live under the same house. What about uncle, they are not
called family, but relatives. Education in America? Students in America are free to decide
what education they want they are free to deliver opinion. That’s why in school they like
asking questions and talking.
4. Student
: What is the meaning of instant friendship in America?
Lecturer
: Instant is like this. When you were at a hospital or in train station, you
are in line to get a tcket. Very long line, kesel kan nunggu. Then you meet new people you
start conversation. That’s instant conversation. Meet new people, then you getting along
right away, after that selesai …
5. Student
: How America women and men can be best friends?
Lecture : I think it’s the same as in our culture. Best friend is the one who has everything,
problems, everything, hutang mungkin juga yah, but in America not too often, orang
352
amerika itu mobile, sering pindah2, they rarely have very best friends, some of them have,
but usually best friends from college from campus yang biasanya yang last longer. Do you
have best friends, sampe sudah nikah punya anak masih best friends.
6.
Student
: What the difference between good friend and best friend?
Lecturer
: How frequent you talk each other. I think everyone here have good
friends, your classmates, but not best friends. Best friends to share problems, cerita,
masalah, hutang. But in good friends, they are not too open.
7. Student
: Why American very easy to get new friend?
Lecturer
: They go to bar, buy drink .. American love to socialize, mereka suka
bersosialisasi dengan orang lain, but they don’t; do it to stranger. Kalo ke orang asing kita
harus yang memulai terlebih dahulu. Kalo ke bule they start making friends, but it’s not
last longer.
8. Student
: How about friendship and friendliness?
Lecturer
: Friendship is part of friendliness. Bagian dari garis temen friendship
itu.
II.
Data Analysis
To make the data clearer, the writers put the data into the following tables to be analyzed
and interpreted.
Data Num.
1
2
Student’s
Questions
Why
not
in
American be the
first in making
friendship
with
foreigner?
In America there is
circle of friend;
why in America
there is sport friend,
close friend, and
sport friend?
Lecturer’s Answer
Why American rarely starts
friendship; ya why, kenapa
mereka tida memulai dari
awal? Any others, saya
tampung dulu?
a) First question, why
American don’t start
friendship; firstly we
have to remember that
American really value
personal
space;
personal information,
so sometimes when
meeting new people,
they
don’t
start
making conversation
because ether afraid of
there
is
some
questions that are
critical,
menyinggung, to the
The
Flouting
of
Maxims
- Quantity
- Relation
- Manner
-
-
353
person; that’s why
they start conversation
by making small talks.
b) About
circle
of
friends, I think it’s not
only in America, but
also in Indonesia; we
have
friends
in
campus, right, we
have friends in kosan,
in nongkrong, in
shopping. How many
circle of friends you
have. Wiranti, how
many close friends
you have in campus.
You have also friends,
like
in
kosan,
tetangga … anak
cowok, you have sport
friends,
pengajian
friends, futsal friend.
Why it happens?
Because in different
context we make
friends. In campus, we
make friends, there
are so many circle of
friends. Not only in
American, I think, but
also circle friends
happen in Indonesia.
3
What about family
background
and
education
in
America?
Begini,
what
is
the
difference between family
in Indonesian and family in
english? How many people
in your family. So many
members.
Because
in
Indonesia everyone who has
blood ties is family, uwa,
paman, teteh, is family.
But in the us, in English,
family is everyone who live
under the same house. What
about uncle, they are not
called family, but relatives.
- Quantity
- Relation
-
Quantity
Relation
354
Education in America?
Students in America are
free
to
decide
what
education they want they
are free to deliver opinion.
That’s why in school they
like asking questions and
talking.
4
What
is
the
meaning of instant
friendship
in
America?
5
How
America
women and men
can be best friends?
6
What the difference
between
good
friend and best
friend?
Instant is like this. When
you were at a hospital or in
train station, you are in line
to get a ticket. Very long
line, kesel kan nunggu.
Then you meet new people
you start conversation.
That’s instant conversation.
Meet new people, then you
getting along right away,
after that selesai …
I think it’s the same as in
our culture. Best friend is
the one who has everything,
problems,
everything,
hutang mungkin juga yah,
but in America not too
often, orang amerika itu
mobile, sering pindah2,
they rarely have very best
friends, some of them have,
but usually best friend from
college from campus yang
biasanya yang last longer.
Do you have best friends,
sampe sudah nikah punya
anak masih best friends.
-
How frequent you talk each
other. I think everyone here
have good friends, your
classmates, but not best
friends. Best friends to
share problems, cerita,
masalah, hutang. But in
good friends, they are not
too open.
-
-
Relation
Manner
355
7
Why American very
easy to get new
friend?
They go to bar, buy drink ..
American love to socialize,
mereka suka bersosialisasi
dengan orang lain, but they
don’t do it to stranger. Kalo
ke orang asing kita harus
yang memulai terlebih
dahulu. Kalo ke bule they
start making friends, but it’s
not last longer.
8
How
about
friendship
and
friendliness?
Friendship is part of
friendliness. Bagian dari
garis temen friendship itu.
III.
-
Quantity
Relation
Manner
-
Data Interpretation
Data 1:
The lecturer’s answer in data 1 flouted three maxims at once, namely maxim of quantity,
maxim of relation, and maxim of manner.
The lecturer said: “ Why American rarely starts friendship; ya why, kenapa mereka tida
memulai dari awal? Any others, saya tampung dulu?” as the respond of the student’s
question asking about why an American was not the first one in making friendship with the
foreigner. The lecturer answered the student’s question by saying another question.
According to Grice (cited in Black, 2006:23) it flouted the maxim of quantity since the
lecturer did not make his contribution as informative as required. The student’s question
must be answered with the appropriate answer. Giving question to answer a question is not
informative. It is not relevant either. This matter flouted the maxim of relation. By giving a
question as the first answer for the student’s question, it also flouted the maxim of manner
since the lecturer did not answer it orderly. Therefore it is called flouts necessitated by a
clash between maxims because it flouted more than one maxim, even it flouted three
maxims at once, nemely maxim of quantity, maxim of relation, and maxim of manner.
Data 2:
In data number 2, the lecturer answered two questions at once. Point 2a was as the answer
of student’s question in data number 1. The lecturer’s answer, in this case, did not flout the
maxims, even it fulfilled the four maxims at once, namely maxim of quantity, maxim of
quality, maxim of relation, and maxim of manner. The data showed that the lecturer
answered the first student’s question as informative as was required, he also had sufficient
evidence to answer it based on his knowledge, the answer was relevant. It was not
ambiguous either.
But in point 2b the lecturer’s answer was not relevant with the student’s question and it
was less informative. Let us review the conversation to prove it. The second student’s
question was: “In America there is circle of friend; why in America there is sport friend,
close friend, and sport friend?” The lecturer answered: “About circle of friends, I think
356
it’s not only in America, but also in Indonesia; we have friends in campus, right, we have
friends in kosan, in nongkrong, in shopping. How many circle of friends you have.
Wiranti, how many close friends you have in campus. You have also friends, like in kosan,
tetangga … anak cowok, you have sport friends, pengajian friends, futsal friend. Why it
happens? Because in different context we make friends. In campus, we make friends, there
are so many circle of friends. Not only in American, I think, but also circle friends happen
in Indonesia.”
The student asked why in America there is sport friend, close friend, etc. The lecturer’s
words did not answer the student’s question exactly, but he explained about his opinion
that those kinds of friends existed not only in America but also in Indonesia. The lecturer
did not explain why in America existed those kinds of friends. Therefore it flouted maxim
of relation and maxim of quantity since the lecturer’s answer was not relevant with the
question given and it was not as informative as was required, it was less informative. The
lecturer’s answer flouted two maxims at once. It is called flouts necessitated by a clash
between maxims. The answer of the question was just given at the end of the lecturer’s
explanation that said: “...Because in different context we make friends. In campus, we
make friends, there are so many circle of friends.”
Data 3:
In data 3 shown in the tables, the lecturer’s answer flouted two maxims at once, namely
maxim of quantity and maxim of relation. When the student asked: “What about family
background and education in America?”, the lecturer said: Begini, what is the difference
between family in Indonesian and family in English?. It showed that the lecturer answered
the question by asking a question first. It is less informative, therefore it flouted maxim of
quantity. The student’s question is about the family background but the lecturer answered
about the difference of family in Indonesia and in English. It was not relevant with the
student’s answer, therefore it flouted maxim of relation.
Data 4:
There was not the flouting of maxims in data number 4. In data number 4, when the
student asked about instant friendship, the lecturer directly answered it. His answer is
informative with adequate evidence, relevant and not ambiguous. In this case, the lecturer
fulfilled the maxims of quantity, quality, relation and manner.
Data 5:
In data 5, the lecturer’s answer flouted two maxims at once, namely maxim of relation
and maxim of manner. When the student asked: “How America women and men can be
best friends?”, the lecturer said:” I think it’s the same as in our culture. Best friend is the
one who has everything, problems, everything, hutang mungkin juga yah,...” It flouted
maxim of relation since his answer was not relevant to the question. Instead of answering
the question directly and briefly, the lecturer made comparison about the culture between
two countries. Even in the next sentence, he explained the definition of best friend which
was not questioned by the students. The answer was not relevant and it was not brief either.
Therefore it flouted maxim of relation and maxim of manner.
Data 6:
In data number 6, the lecturer answered the student’s answer directly, briefly, as
informative as was required and relevant to the question. When the student asked about the
difference between good friend and best friend, the lecturer answered it by saying a brief
and meaningful phrase: “How frequent you talk to each other”. The frequency of talking to
each other showed the categories if one is our best friend or just a good friend.
357
Data 7:
The lecturer’s answer: “They go to bar, buy drink ..” flouted three maxims at once, namely
maxim of quantity, maxim of relation, and maxim of manner. The lecturer’s words did
not answer the student’s question about why American was very easy to get new friend.
Instead of answering the reason why American was very easy to get friend, the lecturer
said that Americans loved to go to bar to buy drink. His answer was not as informative as
required, it was not relevant either and had ambiguous meaning. The sentence could be
interpreted in many ways.
Data 8:
There was not flouting of maxims in data number 8. The lecturer answered the student’s
question as informative as was required, based on adequate evidence, relevant, briefly and
orderly. When the student asked about friendship and friendliness, the lecturer stright
answer to the point that friendship is a part of friendliness. The lecturer’s answer fulfilled
the four maxims; maxim of quantity, maxim of quality, maxim of relation, and maxim of
manner.
Conclusion
The data showed that most of the lecturer’s answers flouted more than one maxim. The
phenomenon of
flouts necessitated by a clash between maxims occured during the
teaching and learning process in the Cross Cultural Understanding classs. The flouting of
maxims done by the lecturer was not totally wrong since it has many purposes. The lecturer
often answered the students’ questions by giving another questions, it had a purpose to
stimulus the students to think more and to explore their answers. The lecturer’s style by
throwing the question to the floor was meant to get feedback from other students in the
classroom. Therefore, we conclude that flouting maxims in the classroom done by the
lecturers are common and it could give positive feedback for the lecturer from the students.
358
References
Attardo, Salvatore. 1994. Linguistic Theories of Humor. Ed. Victor Raskin, Mahadev Apte.
Berlin & New York: Mouton.
Black, Elizabeth 2006. Pragmatic Stylistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Chiaro, Delia. 1992. The Language of Jokes: Analyzing Verbal Play. London: Routledge.
Cresswell, John W. 1994. Research Design: Qualitative & Quantitative Approaches.
California: Sage Publications, Inc.
Gazdar, Gerald. 1979. Pragmatics: Implicature, Presupposition and Logical Form.
London: Academic Press.
Grundy, Peter. 2000. Doing Pragmatics. 2nd Edition. London: Edward Arnold.
Leech, Geoffrey N. 1990. Principles of Pragmatics. 7th Impression. Singapore: Longman
Singapore Publishers.
Thomas, Jenny. 1995. Meaning in Interaction: An Introduction to Pragmatics. New York:
Longman.
Yule, George. 2000. Pragmatics. 5th Impression. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
359
The Iban National Corpus: Preliminary Work
Bromeley Philip1, Simon Philip Botley2
1
Univeriti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Sarawak, [email protected]
Univeriti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Sarawak, [email protected]
2
Abstract
The Iban language is spoken by almost 1 million speakers throughout Sarawak. Iban
belongs to the Ibanic Austronesian language group and is an officially recognised
vernacular within Malaysia. Although Iban is officially a minority language in Malaysia, it
is widely spoken in many domains in Sarawak, not just between Iban-Iban but also IbanNon-Iban speakers. It is also taught in schools as well as having its own regular radio
broadcasts. There has been however less codification of the Iban language in terms of
grammars, dictionaries and teaching materials, compared to Bahasa Malaysia.
Furthermore, there are few written reference materials in Iban such as textbooks, literary
works and academic books. For these reasons, our research group called BRAINS (Borneo
Research Initiative on Native Studies) have embarked on rigorous effort of constructing a
large and representative corpus of Iban on similar lines to the British National Corpus
(BNC). The approach involves drawing Iban words from possibly all existing written and
spoken texts in Iban. Thus far, the corpus is made up of roughly about 10,000 root words.
This corpus, known as the Iban National Corpus (INC) is expanding and it will form the
basis for further language preservation and revitalisation efforts. It is our hope that INC
will eventually enable Iban to become a dynamic academic language.
Key Words: Iban, Corpus, INC, BNC, Minority
The Proposed Iban National Corpus: Design Notes
The core of the proposed project is the Iban National Corpus (INC). The INC is envisaged
to follow a similar design philosophy to that of the British National Corpus (BNC)
(Burnard, 2007). In the following section, we provide a design sketch following that of the
BNC, but differing from it in various aspects
Purpose
The purpose of the INC will be similar to that of the BNC, but due to various factors,
differences will exist. At the moment, based on the experience of the BNC, what follows is
a lost of possible uses for a major corpus of the Iban language:
•
The production of up-to-date reference books and grammars of the Iban language.
Corpus-based grammars of this language will benefit from information derived
from large amounts of authentic real-world spoken and written Iban.
360
•
Based on the data contained in the corpus, much academic linguistic research can
be carried out on the use and structure of the Iban language, especially in the areas
of lexis, morphology, phonology and syntax.
•
The corpus can be used as a rich data source for use in Iban language teaching,
especially given that the Iban language is a subject taught in schools in Sarawak,
and that one of the main goals of the corpus is to promote the Iban language in
Malaysia and beyond.
•
Another possible use of the corpus might be artificial intelligence, natural
language processing and computational linguistics research where intelligent
computer systems can be created to understand and converse in the Iban language.
•
Linked to this, speech processing research might benefit from a large dataset of
spoken Iban, to train a speech processor to understand and produce spoken Iban.
One area where this would be useful is in communication aids for the physically
handicapped, or in rehabilitation for stroke patients.
•
Information retrieval is another area where a database query system or smartphone
app could be trained to accept input from Iban-speaking users in such applications
as flight query or internet search.
Linguistic Information and Mark-up
Once a corpus of the Iban language has been constructed, a great wealth of linguistic
information can be extracted from the corpus, using specialized software such as
concordancers (Anthony, 2013). Here are some examples:
• Lexical information. Ever since the pioneering work of Sinclair (1991), corpus data
has given lexicographers and linguists a great deal of insights into lexical patterns
such as collocation, and word meanings in English and other languages. There is
no reason that similar work could not be carried out on written Iban texts in a
corpus.
• Similarly, a corpus of Iban text can provide linguists with information about the
semantics of the language, as well as allowing for research in pragmatics.
• Syntactic and morphological analysis can benefit greatly from corpus data, especially if
it has been annotated with syntactic or morphological markup (Garside et al.,
1997).
• It is expected that the INC will be composed from ASCII text files, however some
handwritten texts or graphical texts might be included, which will enable studies
of graphology and orthography to be carried out on Iban written texts.
• As a part of the corpus will comprise spoken data recorded as high-quality mp3 sound
361
files, it will be possible to carry out phonological and phonetic studies of spoken
Iban, which will support research in areas such as phonological description,
spoken discourse analysis and sociolinguistic studies.
Definition
Similarly to the BNC, the INC will be:
• a corpus composed of samples of texts, though complete texts will be collected where
appropriate. Samples should be around 45,000 words where appropriate (for
instance, if selecting an extract from a book).
• a synchronic corpus, meaning that it will contain text from a specific period in time. We
envisage that the data should be from approximately the mid-twentieth century to
the present day because early works on Iban language were done by Christian
missionaries translating religious materials into Iban during as early as the
Brooke’s government in mid-twentieth century. Spoken extracts should be as
contemporary as possible.
• a general corpus, meaning that it is not restricted to any specific subject field, register or
genre.
• a monolingual corpus: it is composed of data produced by native speakers of Iban
where possible, given the fact that phenomena such as code switching and code
mixing may be prevalent.
• a mixed corpus: it contains written and spoken Iban data. We envisage that the INC will
follow the BNC’s ratio of 90 % written and 10% spoken data at the moment.
However, due to the paucity of written data in Iban, it may be the case that the
spoken part of the INC may have to be much larger than in the BNC.
It is envisaged that, following the BNC, the INC will comprise about 90 million words of
written data and 10 million words of spoken data. However, this may change as the
feasibility of collecting enough written data becomes fully understood.
Written Corpus Design
This is one area where the proposed INC will differ qualitatively from the BNC. The BNC
Written component had a detailed design structure, which distinguishes between various
genres such as books, periodicals and newspapers, and also makes a distinction between
published and unpublished materials, where unpublished materials include such everyday
genres as brochures and information leaflets.
One area where the proposed INC should differ from the BNC is in the inclusion of
online discourse, which was in its infancy when the original BNC was being collected.
The inclusion in the INC of Iban SMS texts, chats, Facebook profiles, emails and web sites
362
will help to bring the corpus up to date and confer on it a relevance and completeness,
which the BNC can never have in its present form.
It is also expected that the written component of the corpus may in fact be smaller
proportionally than its equivalent in the BNC. This is because the amount of Iban language
materials in written form, published or unpublished, may be less extensive, because in
Malaysia, Iban is not a language which has been written down to the same extent as the
dominant Malay, Chinese dialects or indeed English. There are very few written sources in
Iban which include some sections in Sarawak’s newspapers, some entertainment
magazines, radio news written scripts and some prescribed school textbooks.
Spoken Corpus Design
Here, it is expected that the Iban corpus will more readily be able to match the BNC in
terms of composition, sampling and collection methodology. The BNC was divided into
two broad groups of data, the Context Governed and the Demographic samples. Context
Governed spoken data was collected in specific context such as meetings, lectures,
classroom discourse and media broadcasts. The Demographic samples were collected by a
specially sampled group of respondents from different backgrounds according to various
demographic variables such as gender, social class, regional origin and educational level.
We propose the same division for the INC, with a number of differences. Firstly, in
the Demographic Sample, there will need to be adjustment of the categories for Region and
Social Class to fit in with the Malaysian context. It may be the case that the concept of
social class as understood in the UK may not be appropriate in the society inhabited by
speakers of Iban in Sarawak. Similarly, the regions used in the BNC will not be
transferrable to the Sarawak context, and will need to be replaced with suitable localised
ones. The Iban language is universal despite some slight variations in regional accent that
may be identified as Saribas, Batang Ai, Batang Rejang and Balau (Asmah Omar, 1981).
As far as the Context Governed sample is concerned, the INC should retain the
BNC’s broad sub-classifications of educational, business, public/institutional, and leisure
as these seem to cover the same speech contexts in Sarawak as they do in the UK.
However, it is envisaged that the spoken Context-Governed section of the INC will need to
have some localised categories of its own, such as:
Cultural meetings and ceremonies
Political hustings
Religious meetings and sermons
Radio discussions
Motivational speeches
Entertainment activities
363
Challenges
Sampling and collecting the proposed INC will share many of the challenges that had to be
overcome by the original BNC research team. However, the following issues will need to
be addressed:
1.
The spoken demographic sample will be challenging to collect, where participants
live in remote areas of the state and/or may not have easy access to recording
equipment. To side-step this issue, it could be wise initially to collect data from
urban-dwelling Iban speakers, and to ask them to use smartphones with internet
connections to record their spoken utterances.
2.
Many speech situations in Malaysia involve code-switching and code-mixing, as
most Malaysians are multilingual, with the Iban people not being an exception. A
decision will need to be made as to how much ‘mixed’ data can be allowed to
remain in the corpus samples.
One issue that has arisen in our discussions is that there is not a great deal of
written material in the Iban language, apart from online data, and a few specific
genres such as political and religious texts and newspapers. This may make it
more practical to expand the spoken component of the INC beyond the 10% in the
BNC.
3.
4.
Finally, it may be challenging to persuade speakers to record their own voices for
the corpus, as there seems to be a cultural taboo concerning having one’s speech
recorded. Methodologies to overcome this issue will need to be developed.
Outcomes and Deliverables
The final corpus will be the same as the BNC in that spoken data will be in the form of
sound files (or more likely mp3 files) which will be carefully transcribed by Iban speakers
who have been carefully trained. The resulting machine-readable text can then be
processed and annotated using the XML mark-up language (Bray et al., 2006), to enable
detailed and sophisticated searches to be carried out on the data.
The written texts will also be marked up and digitised from originals where necessary.
Electronic texts can simply be copied and cleaned up by trained text editors, but hard copy
texts can be scanned in or copy-typed to produce electronic text.
Once all data is in a final form that can be processed, searched and utilised, it can be
released in a number of forms, such as a web-based indexed version that can be searched
and used by researchers over the internet. As mobile technology develops further, future
developments might include a mobile app, which would enable a smartphone or tablet user
to access the corpus over mobile internet links.
364
Concluding remark
The Iban National Corpus should be designed and constructed in a similar way to the
British National Corpus, but allowances need to be made for differences in the local
Sarawakian context, which will influence the type and amount of data that can be included
in the corpus. Also, the corpus must make full use of developments in technology that have
taken place since the 1990s, when the original BNC was created.
365
References
Asmah Omar. (1981). The Iban Language of Sarawak. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan
Pustaka (DBP).
Anthony, L. (2013). Developing AntConc for a new generation of corpus linguists.
Proceedings of the Corpus Linguistics Conference (CL 2013), July 22-26, 2013. Lancaster
University, UK, pp. 14-16.
Bray, T., Paoli, J., Sperberg-McQueen, C. M., Maler, E. and Cowan, J. (2006). Extensible
Markup
Language
(XML)1.1
(Second
Edition),
http://www.w3pdf.com/W3cSpec/XML/2/REC-xml11-20060816.pdf
Burnard, L. (2007). Reference Guide for the British National Corpus (XML Edition),
http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/docs/URG/.
Garside R., Leech G. and McEnery A. (eds.) (1997) Corpus Annotation: Linguistic
Information from Computer Text Corpora. London: Longman.
Sinclair, J. M. (1991) Corpus, concordance, collocation. London: Oxford University Press.
366
The National Defence University of Malaysia Teachers’
Perspectives of Learner Autonomy
Emily Abd Rahman
Natinal Defence University of Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
Learner autonomy has become a current issue in the world of language teaching because it
cultivates active interest and intrinsic motivation in learning. These qualities enable
students to make the best out of their learning experience in or outside the classroom
context. However, the teacher’s opinions have been absent for such evaluation where not
much is known about what the teachers perceive of learner autonomy. This gap should be
addressed because the teacher’s beliefs have a significant influence on how they teach and
in this context, on whether learner autonomy is being promoted in their lessons. This
research aims to find out what ‘learner autonomy’ means to ten language teachers in the
National Defence University of Malaysia (NDUM) by utilizing the use of questionnaire
and interview. Results indicate that the teachers have a positive view of the contribution
learner autonomy has on language learning. However, they feel that promoting learner
autonomy in this environment is relatively challenging since it is against the lifestyle of
military-based students.
Keywords: Learner autonomy, ESL, language instructors, teacher perception, tertiary
education
Biodata: Emily Abd Rahman is an English lecturer at the National Defence University of
Malaysia. She holds a Bachelor of Education in TESOL from the University of Auckland,
and Master of Arts in TESOL from the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus. Her
research interest includes second language learning and language testing and assessment.
1.0
Introduction
Learner autonomy has become a current issue in the world of language teaching due to its
positive contributions on language acquisition. The rationale for promoting learner
autonomy is that it is a basic human need, meaning, “feeling free and volitional in one’s
actions” (Deci, 1995 as cited in Little, 1991,p.1). It cultivates active interest and intrinsic
motivation in the world around us. These qualities enable students to make the best out of
their learning experience in or outside the classroom context. However, the teacher’s
opinions have been absent for such evaluation where not much is known about what the
teachers perceive of learner autonomy. This gap should be addressed because the teacher’s
beliefs have a significant influence on how they teach and in this context, on whether
learner autonomy is being promoted in their lessons. This research seeks to find out what
367
‘learner autonomy’ means to the language teachers in the National Defence University of
Malaysia (NDUM).
2.0
Literature Review
2.1
Learner Autonomy
The earliest and most widely used definition of learner autonomy is ‘the ability to take
charge of one’s own learning’ by Henri Holec in the early 1980’s (Barillaro, 2011, Little,
1991, Oxford, 2003). However, this universally accepted definition might be interpreted
differently by individuals from different learning experiences and backgrounds due to
various ideas of the process of learning. This variation is not a shortcoming but rather
helpful and useful in determining the different ways learner autonomy is interpreted across
cultures and beliefs (Barillaro, 2011). Palfreyman (2003) acknowledges these differences in
view as these understandings stem from where learner autonomy has been conceptualized
from, which are four categories that in real educational settings are not black-and-white
alternatives, but rather interrelated (as cited in Oxford, 2003). The table below summarizes
the four major categorizations of learner autonomy in light of language learning.
1.
Category of
perspectives
Technical
2.
Psychological
3.
Political
(critical)
Table 1: Categorizations of learner autonomy
Author
Description
Benson
(1997)
Focus on learner’s physical
settings of learning, usually
outside the formal educational
contexts
Focus on mental attributes
that allows autonomy such as
positive attitudes and
cognitive abilities
Focus on issues of power and
control
Example
Training learners’ skills or
strategies for unsupervised
learning to develop ways
of effective learning
Planning for learning,
being innovative, able to
evaluate learning
Having control over the
process and content of
learning
4. Sociocultural Oxford Focus on the roles on
Initiating conversations
(2003) interaction and social
with native speakers,
participation in the
collaborating on tasks,
development of learner
listening or watching
autonomy
programs in the language
Adapted and edited from Barillaro (2011), Borg and Al-Busaidi (2012), Finch (2002) and
Hedge (2000).
These four perspectives namely technical, psychological, political, and
sociocultural come from different theoretical assumptions. Either one or a mixture of these
perspectives shapes a teacher’s understanding of autonomy, depending on their
background. This characterization will be used in determining the participants or teachers’
view of learner autonomy.
368
Learners who are autonomous are generally agreed (in the literature on autonomous
learners), to have; the understanding of the purposes of their learning program, acceptance
towards the responsibility for their learning, a say in the setting of their learning objectives,
planning in practice opportunities, implementation of appropriate learning strategies, and
regular review and evaluation of their progress (Barillaro, 2011). From this description,
autonomous learners are not just aware of the learning process but are also willing to take
an active part in their learning. The ‘willingness’ of a learner to be responsible of his or her
learning is an important feature of learner autonomy. A capable learner who is aware of his
or her learning process may not develop autonomy unless he or she is willing to take the
responsibility over his or her learning (Oxford, 2003).
Asian learners are not accustomed to these kinds of behavior in learning. Studies
on learner autonomy on students in Asian contexts always find such qualities are lacking in
language learners. In Malaysia, Thang (2010) found that learners in public universities in
Malaysia displayed limited autonomous behaviors. Although learners did have the ability
to become autonomous, they were too accustomed to teacher-centred learning environment,
which renders them from becoming independent. A general pattern can be seen in Hong
Kong (Pierson, 1996), and Chinese students in Canada (Chan & Hui, 1974) where students
prefer rote learning, total acceptance of teacher’s teaching rather than more expressive or
creative way of learning (as cited in Thang, 2010). This phenomenon might be the same in
the context of this research.
Promoting learner autonomy in Asian countries is quite challenging because of the
teacher-centred way of education that has been implemented in schools for a very long
time. Nonetheless, Malaysia is currently in the attempt to move from teacher-centred to a
more student-centred learning by promoting learner autonomy through the use of
technology. Nazrah (2007) investigated the implementation of learner autonomy using
computer-based activities in a secondary school in Malaysia. The findings showed that
although teachers are aware of what autonomy is, they were not able to let their learners
work independently. Although they let students work on their own, teachers were actually
monitoring and controlling the activities all the time because they want to make sure the
objective of the lesson was accomplished. This research found that teachers and syllabus
are two main factors rendering leaner autonomy.
Even though one of the syllabus objectives is to have students independent and
responsible in their learning, in reality the students’ independency is very low. Learner
autonomy could only be implemented if the teacher is ready to change the conventional
way of teaching in Malaysia. Here, we can deduce that the teacher’s belief is crucial in
implementing learner autonomy. The teacher is the one who controls the classroom, so
without her or his disposition, learner autonomy could not be promoted in the lessons. The
teacher’s beliefs and practices are crucial in incorporating learner autonomy. In the
following section, I will address the next theoretical background for this research, the
teacher’s beliefs.
369
2.2
Teacher’s beliefs
In this section, I will discuss on the topic of teacher’s cognition, which is defined by Borg
(2006) as “what teachers think, know and believe” (as cited in Oxford, 2003). For the
context of this study, this area is essential for a reason. The reason is the teacher’s beliefs
will greatly shape what the teacher does in her lesson thus directly influence the type of
learning opportunities the students get. In other words, how much learner autonomy is
promoted in class depends highly on the teacher’s view of learner autonomy and how
desirable and feasible they are.
Barillo (2011) and Oxford (2003) research on teachers’ perception of learner
autonomy dated from 1999 to 2010, found that generally teachers have a positive view
towards learner autonomy. However, the teachers’ incorporation of learner autonomy are
influenced by their learning experience or background, the authority or curriculum, their
teaching practice, and the culture of the environment. Some of these factors are out of the
teachers’ control, for instance, the restriction by the curriculum. Other factors that are
connected to teachers’ thinking could be improved if the teachers are willing to reflect their
teaching and change. In this research, I attempt to discover what influences the
participants’ view of learner autonomy. It is expected that participants have similar aspects
that shapes their view of autonomy.
2.3
Context
In order to provide the readers with better understanding, I will now elaborate on the
context of where this research had taken place. The context of this study is the National
Defense University of Malaysia (NDUM). This university is a boutique university and the
only university in Malaysia, which prepares students to address national and international
security challenges through multi-disciplinary educational programs, research, professional
exchanges and outreach. There are military and civilian students in this university. Both
group of students are integrated into a class of their choice of field, namely engineering,
computer science, medicine or management. All of the students are provided hostel
accommodation inside the campus. The difference between civilians and military students
(cadets) is the military trainings that cadets have to undergo every evening on weekdays
and a whole day on weekends. The most significant difference between this university and
other universities in Malaysia is the students’ lifestyle. Students in the NDUM have a very
organized schedule. Every school day, they have to evacuate their dormitories early in the
morning to attend morning assembly. After that, students have to stay in the academic
building until lunch hour. Every night, students have to attend preparation class in the
academic building where they are supposed to do their homework or revision.
The Language Centre in the NDUM was established in 2009 with currently 27
academic staff and 5 supporting staff. Teaching and learning is mainly face-to-face with
classes approximately three hours per week. The centre is equipped with one audio-visual
laboratory, and one multimedia and language laboratory. The capacity of both laboratories
is 30 and 40 students respectively per session. The multimedia and language laboratory is
fully equipped with a smart board, LCD TV, projector, audio visual aids and English
language learning software called Tell Me More. The centre aims to guide future leaders in
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achieving the level of professionalism required in their careers and to ensure that they
possess communicative competence, creativity, decision making skills and critical thinking
ability.
2.4
Theroretical Framework
Figure 1 shows the theoretical framework of this research. I will look at the teacher’s
perception of learner autonomy, which may be influenced by their background, learning
experience, teaching practice, and culture, or authority of their working place. These
factors were gathered from previous researches on teacher’s perception of learner
autonomy. There may also be other new factors that influence the current respondents’
beliefs of learner autonomy. The teachers’ perception then, will be analysed according to
the literature of categorisation of learner autonomy to better describe how these teachers
view learner autonomy. By bridging this gap between theory and teacher’s beliefs, I hope
to better understand the teachers’ perception and address how learner autonomy could be
promoted well in this educational institution.
Figure 1: Theoretical framework
Learner autonomy
categorisation
(Theory)
•
•
•
•
2.5
Technical
Psychological
Political/ Critical
Sociocultural
Teacher's beliefs
• Cutlture
• Learning
background/experience
• Authority/ curriculum
• Teaching practice
• other factor(s)
Objective
1.
2.
3.
4.
2.6
NDUM’s teachers’ understanding of the term ‘learner autonomy’
NDUM’s teachers’ beliefs on learner autonomy’s contribution to L2 learning
NDUM’s teachers’ desirability and feasibility in promoting learner autonomy
NDUM’s teachers’ opinion on how autonomous their students are
Research questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
What do the NDUM teachers understand from the term ‘learner autonomy’?
To what extent, do the NDUM teachers believe that learner autonomy contribute
to L2 learning?
To what extent, are the NDUM’s teachers’ desirability and feasibility in
promoting learner autonomy?
To what extent do the NDUM’s teachers feel their learners are autonomous?
3.0
Methodology
3.1
Sample
The sample populations of this study comprised English teachers of the National Defence
University of Malaysia. The teachers consisted of lecturers and language teachers with
371
qualifications of at least a degree to a PhD. At that moment, there were only ten educators
teaching English in the university because a number of them were on study leave to
complete their Master and PhD degrees respectively.
3.2
Research instruments and procedures
The instruments for this research were adapted and edited from British Council’s research
on teacher’s beliefs of learner autonomy. The research was carried out on 61 English
teachers in a university in Oman, which was published in 2012 in the ELT Research Paper.
The instruments were a set of questionnaire and an interview. The questionnaire was
carefully developed based on recent literature on the subject and was also piloted and
revised before it was administered to the sample. Below is the description of the
questionnaire and interview from British Council that were adapted and edited to fit the
sample in this research.
1.
i.
ii.
iii.
iv.
v.
2.
Questionnaire
There are a number of five sections in this questionnaire.
The first section revolves around the teacher’s view on the topic, learner autonomy.
There are a number of 37 statements that participants need to rate on a five-point
Likert scale ranging from Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Unsure, Agree to Strongly
Agree.
The second section of the questionnaire consists of statements to discover; (a) the
teacher’s extent of desirability and feasibility in having their students involved in
decision-making for the lesson, and (b) the teacher’s view of their students’ abilities.
In section three, there are two open-ended questions revolving around the
respondents’ view on their teaching and their students. Respondents have the
opportunity to write their opinions in this section.
Section four deals with respondents’ demographic information including years of
experience, qualification and others.
The last section is a consent enquiry for further participation in a semi-structured
interview with the researcher.
Interview
The interview was a semi-structured interview, which was carried out to clarify any of
the respondents’ misconceptions in answering the questionnaire and supplement the
quantitative data with richer information.
4.0
Results
In this section, I will report the findings of my research according to the instruments that I
have employed, namely questionnaire and interview.
372
4.1
Questionnaire
Table 2 illustrates the personal information of all of the ten participants. The first eight
names are the participants who volunteered to be interviewed further on the subject. The
names used in this research are alias to protect the respondents’ anonymity.
Participant
1.Mrs
Demi
2.Mr
Freddie
3.Miss
Keira
4.Mrs
Mariah
5.Mrs
Marilyn
6.Miss
Naomi
7.Mrs
Natalie
8.Miss
Victoria
9.Miss
Pink
10.Mrs
Jordin
Year(s) of
experience
(English)
10-14
Table 2: Demographic information
Year(s) of
Qualification/ overseas
experience or local graduate
(NDUM)
10-14
Master degree/ local
0-4
0-4
Bachelor degree/ local
0-4
0-4
Bachelor degree/ local
0-4
0-4
Bachelor degree/ local
0-4
0-4
Master degree/ local
0-4
0-4
Bachelor degree/ local
5-9
0-4
Master degree/ local
5-9
0-4
0-4
0-4
10-14
10-14
Bachelor degree/
overseas
Bachelor degree/
overseas
PhD/ overseas
Nationality/ race/
gender
Malaysian/ Malay/
female
Malaysian/ Malay/
male
Malaysian/ Malay/
female
Malaysian/ Malay/
female
Malaysian/ Malay/
female
Malaysian/ Malay/
female
Malaysian/ Malay/
female
Malaysian/ Chinese/
female
Malaysian/ Bengali/
female
Malaysian/ Malay/
female
We can deduce that most of the teachers in the NDUM are new in teaching or
fresh-graduates based on the years of experience. It could be assumed that this set of
teachers is more inclined towards autonomous learning, since it is quite a current issue in
TESOL. Only three of them are overseas graduates where only one was interviewed. The
difference in learning experience or background may provide us with different views of
learner autonomy. Out of ten, there was only one male in this group. The teachers are
mostly Malays. Only one Chinese and one Bengali.
Now, I will describe the findings for the first section form the questionnaire. From
the questionnaire, the teachers have a positive view towards learner autonomy. Generally,
to them, learner autonomy helps in making learners more effective in learning the
language. They believe it could be fostered to students from all ages and backgrounds with
easier implementation on those who are more proficient and confident in the language.
Participants also display positive responds on all four categories of learner autonomy,
technical, psychological, critical and sociological. However, we could not deduce here to
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what extend are they skewed towards these categories of perspectives of learner autonomy.
I will discuss their views deeper in the findings of my interview.
Figure 2, below, illustrates the teachers’ desirability and feasibility in involving
their students in decision-making in the lesson. The number zero to four is the rank from
undesirable or unfeasible to very desirable or very feasible. From the bar chart, teachers
want to involve the students in decision-making especially in terms of determining the
topics and types of activities in class. The least desirable would be determining the
teaching methods being used in class. For all seven categories, teachers are not very
confident that they are feasible. We will find out why they are less feasible through the
findings of the interview.
Figure 2: Desirability and feasibility of learner’s involvement in decision-making
Classroom…
Teaching methods
Assesment
Topics
Activities
Feasibility
Desirability
Materials
Objectives
0
1
2
3
4
(1=undesirable/unfeasible; 4=very desirable/feasible)
On the other hand, figure 3 (below) indicates teachers’ desirability of learning to
learn skills in their students. From the bar chart, the teachers really desire for students to
have these skills through the high rank of nearly 3 and above for all category. However,
teachers do not feel that all of them are as feasible especially when it comes to evaluation
of own learning and monitoring progress. They are only quite positive that having students
to learn co-operatively is feasible. We will discuss on this matter later in the findings of the
interview.
374
Figure 3: Desirability and feasibility of learning to learn skills in learners
Learn independently
Learn co-operatively
Evaluate their own…
Monitor their own…
Identify their own…
Identify their own…
Identify their own needs
0
Feasibility
Desirability
1
2
3
4
(1=undesirable/unfeasible; 4=very desirable/feasible)
4.2
Interview
The findings of the interview will be discussed according to the research questions this
research aims to answer. The transcriptions of the interviews were highlighted using colour
codes to distinguish which research question it is answering.
1. What do the NDUM teachers understand from the term ‘learner autonomy’?
Most of them have a psychological view of learner autonomy meaning they emphasise the
importance of having a positive attitude in order to become autonomous. They believe that
the most essential element in becoming autonomous is within the mind-set of the learner. A
few of them even mentioned the importance of students’ willingness to become
autonomous. Mr Freddie is the only teacher whose view of autonomy is based solely on
technical perspective where he considered as having the ability to find materials as being
autonomous. Only Miss Keira, whom just recently learned about this issue on autonomy,
has all four views of learner autonomy. Mrs Mariah, on the other hand, is not keen on
sociocultural view of autonomy as she does not see students’ effort of interacting in class
as autonomous but look at the product of assignments as proof of independent study. Miss
Victoria, who is the only overseas graduate from this group, possesses the strongest view of
psychological perspective of learner autonomy. She was surrounded by an autonomous
environment of learning when studying abroad. She highly values students’ discovery or
realisation of the importance and appeal of the language. This respondent is the only one
who claimed to have increasing autonomous students in her class.
2.
To what extent, do the NDUM teachers believe that learner autonomy
contribute to L2 learning?
Overall, the teachers felt that when the students are autonomous, they are more engaged in
their learning or more responsible, they will be able to gain more input rather than
experiencing passive learning where they wait for the teacher to spoon-feed them. By
having them more responsible in terms of picking a topic or choosing a material, students
will be able to do something that is more to their interest and this will make them more
enthusiastic in learning. Teachers also highlights the importance of continuation of learning
375
outside of the classroom because they claimed that the learning hours students have in
learning English is limited, same goes to the materials they use in class. Learner autonomy
is essential, as it will foster students to continue learning outside academic hours where
they may acquire more language skills.
To what extent, are the NDUM’s teachers’ desirability and feasibility in
promoting learner autonomy?
Teachers are positive in desirability in promoting learner autonomy. However, some of
them emphasised that situation and context and that it should be with supervision so that
students would stay on the right track. Miss Keira expressed her concerns of teachers
having no importance in classroom if students are too autonomous and also possibilities of
losing students’ respect as she claimed that students tend become arrogant. In terms of
feasibility, teachers believe that students have the ability to become autonomous if they
were being exposed, given the chance and guidance. Most teachers highlighted the notion
of exposure to outside world and culture in the NDUM. The teachers as well, are not highly
exposed to autonomous learning environment where teaching is usually teacher-centred.
Much of this is due to the syllabus and teachers’ workload. Apart from that, students prefer
to be spoon-fed because their lifestyle is too rigid and tiring they do not have the time to
spend time on academic stuff. The facilities are also not very conducive to foster learner
autonomy because the NDUM is still lacking in electronic devices or software that are
currently used in other universities.
3.
4. To what extent do the NDUM’s teachers feel their learners are autonomous?
Teachers believe that the NDUM students have to ability to become autonomous but they
need to be given the chance and proper guidance from the teacher. Most of the students as
well as teachers are not well exposed to the notion of learner autonomy. There are only a
small amount of students who are autonomous. Most of the students prefer rote learning
and spoon-feeding because they rely on the teachers to provide input. Apart from that,
English is seen as an easy subject and not as important as their core subjects like medicine,
engineering etc. So students do not put much effort when learning English. Those who are
autonomous are usually proficient in the language, they are confident because they have the
language. Those who are weak could not become autonomous because of language barrier.
They need more guidance from the teacher. Although they are not good in the language,
some students do show that they have the motivation to learn. The civilian students are
seen to be more autonomous compared to cadets. Most cadets take education for granted
because they know that they are promised a job in military after they have graduated.
Unlike cadets, civilians need to be excellent in their studies to be able to apply for jobs.
Apart from that, students who are more comfortable with their teachers tend to develop
leaner autonomy more than those who are shy around their teachers.
5.0
Themes
5.1
Nature VS nurture
Students in the NDUM are capable to become autonomous when they are given the chance
to take charge of their learning like having group activities where they are in charge in
376
making decisions. However, the educational system in Malaysia, since primary school,
which is highly exam-oriented, has nurtured students to become passive and submissive in
their learning. Most students have the chance to slowly break away from this way of
learning when they enter university level, where they learn to be more independent in life
as well as in their learning. However, for the NDUM students, their lives continue to be
controlled and even more rigidly by the military way of life. Although in nature, students
have the ability and the will to be more responsible towards their learning, the lifestyle that
they are living hinders them from becoming more autonomous. How they are treated in the
university shapes the person they are: submissive, obedient military cadets. This
phenomenon happens because of the culture of the learning environment. Culture proves to
be a significant factor in nurturing learner autonomy. Teachers are also influenced by this
culture, influencing their desirability of allowing students to engage in decision-making in
class. The teachers themselves, have to have the will to reflect and change the way they are
nurtured to teach, and move towards a more autonomous-friendly methods of teaching.
5.2
Teacher-student relationship
The relationship between student and teacher is essential in promoting learner autonomy in
the NDUM. The psychological perspective of learner autonomy is seen as the most
important factor in making students more autonomous. Students’ motivation in learning
could be best inculcated through good rapport with the teacher. In order to break the
nurture of teacher-centred teaching, the teachers have to put their guards down and really
take the time to get to know the students. One of the teachers, Miss Victoria, who used
sociocultural ways of promoting learner autonomy by engaging them with the culture,
entertainments in the language rather than academic subjects, succeeded in increasing the
amount of autonomous students in her class. In a way, she is portraying herself as a friend
or facilitator rather than an authoritative figure, which is similar to their military teachers.
Students are able to be more expressive this way because they are not restrained by having
to be obedient and submissive. They are able to be themselves around their language
teacher.
5.3
Technology
Another important theme that has emerged from this research is the use of technology.
Training students’ technical ability of learner autonomy should be done in a more modern
and sophisticated way, using the technology. When teaching students skills to learn,
teachers realised that the NDUM students prefer to use technology rather than going old
school. For example, they would rather use a smartphone dictionary application rather than
having to carry the traditional book dictionary. Technology could be the key tool for
teachers to inculcate learner autonomy among the students. It is easy, readily accessible
and timesaving. Mrs Mariah highlighted the importance of providing a proper environment
with facilities like computers, software etc. to let students become autonomous. We could
not expect students to become autonomous if we do not provide them with the suitable
learning environment and facilities for them to be autonomous. However, teachers have to
be precautious in using technology in class. Some students might abuse the power of
377
technology. For instance, Miss Keira’s unfortunate encounter with plagiarism in her
students works.
6.0
Discussion and Conclusion
The NDUM is a boutique university where the experience is very different from other local
or overseas universities. The students experience a different lifestyle compared to normal
universities’ students. This culture shapes how teachers and well as learners view learning.
However, the teachers’ have a positive view towards learner autonomy, as do all the other
research on teacher’s perception of learner autonomy (Oxford, 2003). The teachers have a
clear view of what learner autonomy means, which is reflected in both questionnaire and
interview. Although their beliefs may be skewed to different perspectives of learner
autonomy, most of them agreed that psychological perspective of autonomy is the best area
to target in promoting learner autonomy. The instillation of learner autonomy should be
through psychology or from inside so that it will drive them to remain autonomous.
The teachers believe that learner autonomy contributes greatly to language
learning. Being autonomous will train students to have better learning skills, be motivated,
be responsible on their learning, and initiation to become exposed to the target language.
For these reasons, autonomy is desirable to these teachers. Teachers have a very positive
outlook on the political/critical perspective of learner autonomy. They believe that it is
important to give students some control over decision-making in class especially in
choosing topic (content) and type of activities (process) in learning. However, teachers are
not very keen in having students determine the teaching methods being used. This finding
is similar to Barillaro (2011). Teachers have this view maybe because they know that
students do not have that much knowledge on the methodology of teaching. In this area, the
teacher knows better. Although the desirability is high, teachers are not very confident that
students have the ability to be involved in such decision because of the culture and lifestyle
of the NDUM students. More guidance and opportunities must be provided by the teachers
to help students become responsible in their learning.
The teachers claimed that the NDUM students have a bit of all four aspects learner
autonomy, technical, psychological, political and sociocultural. Most of the students who
display these characteristics are those who are more proficient and confident, more familiar
with the teacher, and older learners. However, students who are less competent in English
sometimes show greater amount of motivation to learn. Learner autonomy is hindered by
mainly cultural factors in the NDUM.
As a conclusion, the research has provided an insight into the way the NDUM
teachers view learner autonomy in their context. Although promoting learner autonomy in
this environment would be very difficult since it is against the lifestyle of the militarybased students, the teachers have a positive view of the contribution learner autonomy has
on language learning. The process might be difficult and needs a lot of effort from the
teachers, but it is not impossible as one of the teachers has already succeeded in promoting
learner autonomy and been receiving more and more autonomous students in her class.
378
References
Barillaro, F. 2011. Teacher perspectives of learner autonomy in language teaching. MA
dissertation, Sheffield Hallam University.
Borg, S. & Al-Busaidi, S. 2012. Learner Autonomy: English Language Teachers’ beliefs
and practices. British Council: United Kingdom.
Finch, A. 2002. Autonomy: where are we? Where are we going? Ph.D. The Hong Kong
Polytechnic University.
Hedge, T. 2000. Teaching and learning in the language classroom. Oxford University
Press: New York.
Little, D. 1991. Learner autonomy: definitions, issues and problems. Authentik: Dublin.
Nazrah, A. B. 2007. Technology and learner autonomy: Teachers’ and students’perceptions
towards learner autonomy in a computer-based learning environment in a Malaysian
context. In Independent Learning Association 2007 Japan Conference: Exploring theory,
enhancing practice: Autonomy across the disciplines. Kanda University of International
Studies, Chiba, Japan, October 2007.
Thang, S. M. 2010. Investigating autonomy of Malaysian ESL learners: A comparison
between public and private universities. The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language
Studies, 15: p.97-124.
Oxford, R.L. 2003. Toward a more systematic model of L2 learner autonomy. In
Palfretman, D. & Smith, R. C. (Eds.). Learner autonomy across cultures: Language
education perspectives, p.75-91. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke.
379
The Native Speaker Programme in Malaysia:
Multiple Perspectives on the Programme
Wan Fatimah Solihah Bt. Wan Abdul Halim
Uniiversiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
Malaysia acknowledges English as a global language when the government brought in
native English speakers (NESs) to help local English teachers teach in primary schools
through a programme called English Native Speaker Mentoring Programme (Program
PenuturJati Bahasa Inggeris). Since a number of Malaysians have voiced their doubt of
such a measure (MELTA, 2010), this qualitative research evaluated the role of NESs in the
programme through the perspectives of three levels of implementers namely the NNESs,
NESs and District Officers. The results of the study provided encouraging evidence to
show that the respondents generally perceived the role of the NESs in multiple dimensions,
depending on how one values NESs’ contribution throughout the programme. The findings
suggested the role of the native English speaker served as reflection of how much
Malaysian teachers need training in professional teaching. However, despite the
commitment shown by the NESs, the issue of poor execution of programme by MoE as
well as the resistance of the local teachers arisen, much to portray the ugly truth of such
high-invested programme. Strategies on how to improve the role of the native speakers are
also discussed to demonstrate how to maximise their expertise to create a dynamic
collaboration and gradually improve the local teachers’ skills and quality of teaching.
Keywords: NESs, NNESs, team-teaching
Biodata: A degree holder from a collaborative B.Ed TESL program between KPM and the
local university and also a masters degree holder specialised in English Language Teaching
(ELT). Was an English teacher with almost 4 years of working experience in a fully
residential school, Sekola hMenengah Sains Kubang Pasu from year 2010-2014.Currently
working as a lecturer in Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Has great interest in
researching on the policy making of the curriculum as she believes that the establishment
of a policy for curriculum development is a necessary task to improve the quality and
efficiency of education.
1.0
Introduction
One of the effects of globalisation has directed to the extensive use of English in various
regions of the world. In the field of education, the surfacing of English as the most widely
380
spoken as well as the global language serves as an influential catalyst towards language
planning and policy-making in many countries especially in the Asia-Pacific regions (Ho,
2002; Nunan, 2003). Today, in view of this escalating need, the Malaysian Ministry of
Education has brought in native-speakers of English to help local English teachers in
primary schools. As announced in the 2011 Budget, the government has brought in 375
English native-speaking teachers to help train English teachers in primary schools through
a programme called ‘ProgramPenuturJati Bahasa Inggeris’ or Native Speaker Programme.
Those native speakers were engaged from several English speaking countries such as the
United States, England, Australia and New Zealand (Jusoh. 2015).
The Native Speaker Programme is perceived to be able to encourage more
primary schools, especially national schools all over Malaysia, to make use of “native”
English speakers in working together with “non-native” English teachers. The local
teachers will still have the total authority over the lessons carried out in the classroom
while English native speakers are brought in to help the local teachers and act as a trainer
as well as a consultant. Basically, the service of NESs in English language teaching is
supposedly able to help improve Malaysian students as well as the teachers in terms of the
English language use. As the English as International Language (EIL) perspective
encourages the development of other English varieties around the world, NNES learners
should be able to feel more comfortable with their English ability to express themselves.
NNES teachers, who are advanced learners of English themselves, should be first to be
informed of this shift and benefit from it.
The Native Speaker Programme is an initiative of the Education Ministry to
enhance the mastery of the English Language among students, under its MBMMBI
(Memartabatkan Bahasa MelayuMengukuhkan Bahasa Inggeris), a policy which aims to
uphold Bahasa Malaysia and strengthen the English Language. The new programme of
bringing in native speakers of English to collaborate with the local English teachers aims to
improve the teaching and learning strategy in the elementary level as the ministry saw the
need to makechanges to meet the challenges of the future. Therefore, the MoE suggests that
the national curriculum must be benchmarked to international standards to produce
students with the skills required to compete at the international level.
Based on that, the purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of those
involved in the Native Speaker Programme which are the local English teachers, the
District Officer as well as the native English speakers (NESs) who collaborate in the new
programme. The researcher will make a comparison of their perspectives regarding the role
of the NESs as well as their contributions throughout the implementation of the nationwide
programme as well as the effects of the collaboration towards the teachers’ teaching
development. The perspectives from all groups will be compared and contrasted not only to
develop a better understanding of the problem arisen due to the collaboration but also to
describe the variation in perspectives.
However, what has happened in Malaysia is the other way around as many
pertinent points were raised and argued nationally after the Native Speaker Programme was
introduced. The Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (MELTA) has come
out with a report titled “To Go or Not to Go Native: The Role of Native Speaker Teachers
381
and Trainers in Second and Foreign Language Teaching” as a feedback derived from
conference held pertaining the new policy making of Malaysian government. It is also
stated in the report that the history of Malaysian educational system has witnessed that the
status of native speaker origin that has been the benchmark in selecting the teacher trainers
had proven that the employment of native speakers was not worth it as they do not have the
expected ELT skills and do not receive any formal and proper ESLT training (2010). Due
to the shortage of NES teachers for teaching, it is therefore possible for any native English
speaker applicant with any academic degree to be accepted and granted a full time teaching
job in the primary schools.
Thus, the practice of employing native English speakers without professional
training to teach English to students, in most cases, has engendered unsatisfactory quality
of English teaching (Barratt &Kontra, 2000; Mattos, 1997; Tian, 2003). A report by Tian
(2003) even highlights the failure of a policy to employ foreign teachers in a key primary
school in China. Employing an untrained native English speakerscan result in disorganised
classroom teaching and a lack of continuity of teaching content. In addition, due to the
language barrier, poor instructional presentation as well as class and behaviour
management can be issued against native English teachers as well.
According to the MELTA report, New Straits Times (2012) claimed that Malaysia
has already spent enormous amounts of money training local talent and upgrading their
knowledge and competencies in Malaysian and foreign universities. By not including these
Malaysians in this programme, the country is sending out a message that Malaysians arenot
good enough or will never be good enough to become self-reliant. These local experts are
not only extremely capable but would also be more dedicated to the nurturing of their own
nation’s young. If the incentives were channelled to them and their professional services in
place of foreign ‘native speaker’ trainers, national funds would go to a committed team of
local experts and would be preserved and maintained within the country instead of being
drained away to foreign shores. It is highly conceivable that the country would end up
spending less, and precious Ringgit could be better spent on the upgrading of schools
throughout the nation.
The local teachers voice that the native speaker trainer programme will have
serious implications on Malaysian ESL teacher morale, motivation and self-esteem.
Teachers felt that they will be seen as second best at the most by fellow teachers and their
students. The binary paradigm that this model creates will encourage comparison and
unfair judgements.
2.0
Review of Literature
2.1
ELT Practice and the Native-speaker Fever
In a great number of countries whose English is considered as second or foreign language,
the demand to have English native speakers to collaborate with local English teachers is
burgeoning especially in ESL nations which regard education and knowledge as the
indicator to become a language proficient. This emerging perspective is not only brought
382
up and introduced educational system, but is also acknowledged as the administrative and
official language by these nations. However, in EFL circumstances, English serves only as
a supplementary language whose significance is portrayed by its economic development as
well as global requirements. In Germany, for example, English is applicable in a few
development sectors such as the services of local train.
Native speaker fever is always synonymous with the offers and availability of
jobs for English teachers in both educational institutions and private centre. It has been
proven that as one of the supplementary modern languages that is learnt most by people,
there was still a strong connection and demand for native-speaking teachers even though
English is a foreign language. This further points out that it is not the pursuit for perfection
that drives this call for English teachers of indigenous speakers but rather to put up certain
party’s reputation. This is mainly because ELT is a career and not an ordinary part of a
native-English speaker. In most of the advertisements or vacancies, they highlight more
emphasis on the status, which is the origin, of the potential candidate compared to the level
of their language proficiency and education as well as their professional development
experience. So much so, the opportunities for the non-native speaker to become proficient
and experienced professionals are very unlikely to be available.
The main concern of place specified to the native prerequisite, although it is not
specified to any country, signifies that university degrees and professional development are
positioned below the status of native speaker. This is proven when the available
advertisements in medias, newspaper or even on the internet highlights that it is not
compulsory for a native speaker to hold a degree from any certified universities and
institutions or being professionally trained in ELT to be eligible for the vacancies. However
it is indisputable that there are a number of potential employers who are firm on hiring the
native-speakers based on status but at the same time looking for those who meet other
prerequisites set by them. The quest to have native speaker origins to serve as English
teachers or to collaborate with local English teachers as a fever has also influenced other
aspects of normal life apart from ELT field. This phenomenon is described by Anchimbe
(2005) as he states that due to the effects of globalised world and the phenomena of nativespeaker fever, a number of parents are aware of the value of English language and enrol
their children to English medium school to enable their kids to learn and acquire English as
their first language.
The perspectives that native-speaker are flawless in their language has resulted the
spread native speaker fever to other countries across the globe. Although it might be true
but the case is not applicable in every situation especially in ELT as we have to accept the
fact that there are a lot more diverse challenges to be faced in the ELT classroom, rather
than just focusing on the status of a native speaker. To make any ELT process a success,
we have to incorporate the socio-cultural aspects of the local nations, not from the native
speakers. By doing this, the English learners would feel close to the language as they have
the personal attachment of the language and in a way it may also bridge the gaps of
communication that happened as a result of socio-cultural difference. Therefore, based on
the evidence, the requirement of employing native speakers in ELT field is inadequate and
to certain degree is irrelevant and biased.
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2.2
The Native Speaker Programme or ‘ProgrammePenuturJati’
In 2008, the Ministry of Education decided to employ native speakers as experts or mentors
to assist in capacity building of primary school English teachers in this country. It was
decided that programme would be implemented from 2011 to 2013. The Native Speaker
Programme is one of the programmes designed to enhance a language policy to uphold
Bahasa Malaysia and strengthen the English Language.It is called MBMMBI
(Memartabatkan Bahasa MelayuMemperkukuhkan Bahasa Inggeris). This programme is
under BPK (Bahagian Pembangunan Kurikulum), and under the BPK there is a vendor
called SMR Group Company who is responsible in bringing in the native speakers.
The Native Speaker Programme has been executed for standard one, two and three
pupils of selected primary schools in all states in Malaysia. It is perceived as a strategy of
the Ministry of Education to increase the capacity of English language teachers in 1800
primary schools, apart from strengthening the mastery of English language at schools.
Through this programme, the local English teachers involved are required to attend
professional input sessions conducted by the NESs after school hours. The responsibilities
of conducting the professional input sessions are shouldered on the Department of
Curriculum Development.
The idea for drawing out the local language panels’ perspectives on the prospect
of bringing in native speakers to act as consultants and trainers to Malaysian teachers
emerged from informal feedback on the issue debated, especially in the media as well as
among the teachers themselves at schools. MELTA (2010), in a report from two
colloquiums, “To Go or Not to Go Native: The Role of Native Speaker Teachers and
Trainers in Second and Foreign Language Teaching” has generally argued over the
relevancy of the programme, the issue of undermining Malaysian home-grown talent and
also came out with a list of the possible strategies that will make such implementation to be
more promising.
Very little research has focused on the collaboration of Native English Speakers
(NESs) and Non-native English Speakers (NNESs) in a language programme in hiring
NESs. Therefore, hopefully this study would be able to bridge the gap in the literature by
focusing on the NESs and NNESs’ perspectives on such employment of English native
speakers to monitor and supervise local English teachers in Malaysian primary schools.
3.0
Methodology
This study employs a qualitative approach to explore the perspectives of the local English
teachers as well as the English native speakers about the role of English native speakers in
the collaboration of a language policy. Therefore, the comparison of these two groups’
perspectives is discovered using interviews with open-ended questions. Apart from the
English native speakers and local English teachers’ perspectives, qualitative data through
interviews with a few district officers are also collected with the aim of describing the
variety in the perspectives of those involved in the language policy. It is also aimed to
384
support or validate the perspectives of the English native speakers as well as the local
English teachers.
In this study all three perspectives are studied simultaneously. The design of the
study reflects the cyclical nature in which current policy affects state-level administration,
school-level administration as well the classroom implementers, the local English teachers
are involved. After all interviews are audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, the
transcripts are then used for the analysis. The researcher will triangulate the different
sources of information by examining evidence from these three perspectives and using it to
build a coherent justification for themes. This can be claimed as adding to the validity of
the study as themes are established based on converging several sources of perspectives
from the participants.
Twenty NESs were selected from five districts in Kedah namely KubangPasu,
Langkawi, Padang Terap, Kuala Nerang, and Kuala Kedah. It was easy to get the cooperation from them as they willingly beinterviwed and shared their experience.
Meanwhile, only 18 local English teachers managed to be interviewed due to some
constraints faced by them. In the mean time, three district officers (PPD) from
KubangPasu, Padang Terap and Kodiang were also interviewed.
4.0
Findings and Discussion
The findings of this study bring light to the experiences of all parties involved in the Native
Speaker Programme. The result of the interviews has revealed not only the roles of the
NESs, the local teachers and the district officers, but also the obstacles faced by them
throughout the programme. Specifically, all respondents from the three groups responded
well to all questions which led to the surfacing of four prominent themes. In each theme,
they discussed how they contribute and react throughout the programme. In sharing this
information, they also gave suggestions on how to improve the situations especially on the
part of the NESs as well as reasons of the NNESs or the local teachers’ resistance. In
sharing this information, several themes have been identified which are: the roles of native
English speakers, the acceptance and attitude of local English teachers, the roles of the
representative of administrator-MOE/PPD and should the Native Speaker Programme be
continued.
The Role of NESs in The Native Speaker Programme
One of the most prominent themes surfaced as the outcome of the interviews is the
roles of NESs in the Native Speaker Programme. The roles of the native English speakers
(NESs) who took part in this programme are divided into three main areas: in-school
support, observations and in-class development and professional language development.
Further, the respondents also identified the role of the NESs in contributing to the phonics
teaching and training. They stated their perspectives towards the issue based on judgement
of what have they gone through and validated it with the current needs of our educational
system policy.
385
The Acceptance and Attitude of Local English Teachers
Secondly, the respondents also have highlighted the issue of the acceptance and attitude of
local English teachers towards the roles of NESs in the Native Speaker Programme. There
were respondents who approved and accepted the roles of NESs as mentors and consultants
in to help the local English teachers enhance their teaching skills development. The District
Officer reported that there was once a report from one of the NES, complaining on the poor
attendance among the local teachers of the once a week workshop conducted by the NESs
to develop teachers’ professional skills. The officer added:
I know that there were cases where our local English teachers slept in the class
and were refused to be observed. (Personal communication, 10 April 2013)
Apart from that, PPD officers also have received cases where native speakers had to
change school as they are not accepted in that particular school. There is a case in Kota
Setar District where they are not allowed to change school but finally we have to get the
native speaker transferred because the teachers refused to be observed, refuse to attend
workshop and refused to be coached. That particular local teacher, despite being given
warned and penalised, begging of changing the teaching option from English to another
subject just because he/she do not want to be observed.
However, despite the cold reaction on the part of the local teachers, there are cases reported
in other PPD where native speakers abused and fought with the local teachers. There was
even a native speaker who punched the teacher and ran away after a few months in a
secluded case in other district. When they ran away, the company has to incur the cost.
There are native speakers who are always drunk. As reported by the officer, Kedah actually
had a native speaker named who came here only for three months and ran away after
having a clash with his manager. The District Officer of KubangPasu expressed her
gratitude for getting good and cooperative NESs. She claimed that the NESs The native are
hardworking, it just that our local teachers are not willing to co-operate with them. As for
example, there is a NES who would go around book shops during school holiday and bring
back the materials for the teachers. She added:
There is a NES whom I know has done something that we probably will not do.
She did cards for every teacher under her supervision. Her willingness is to that
extent. However, the local teachers were sort of reluctant. Lately I received report
from my colleague in other PPD, teachers refuse to be observed while they should
have got a lot of info on that but teachers are not appreciating it. They think that it
takes time and they are in comfort zone. They don’t want to improve since there is
no competition. They don’t need extra knowledge, extra work as it doesn’t make
different with their salary (personal communication, 27 April 2013).
The NNES teachers, in responding to the issue have come out with different perspectives.
Some of them showed appreciation while some of them expressed dissatisfaction and
blatant resistance. An NNES teacher with 20 years teaching experience articulated that:
386
I think learning from this programme is a mere waste of time and burdening.
Although he (the NES) is eligible, resourceful and motivational, it doesn’t help
much in our Malaysian classroom concepts as we have around 40 pupils in a
class and limited time as or syllabus is very exam-oriented. Moreover, we are
answerable to our admin (personal communication, 7 June 2013).
However, there are still some local teachers who still have good perspectives and have
been optimistic in dealing with the Native Speaker Programme. One of them claimed that:
The most beneficial activity is the remedial teaching techniques session that I had
with them. I got a lot of new ideas from them especially to handle my lowproficient students. To me, it is necessary for teachers who do not have experience
in teaching, especially the fresh graduates (personal communication, 7 June
2013).
There were also respondents who clearly delineated their roles as unnecessary and certify it
with some reasons. Further, they shared their thoughts on what causes the resistance
towards the execution of the problem and finally, they talked about the importance of every
party involved to work hand in hand to support this programme.
The Role of the Ministry of Education
Moving on, the respondents also had touched on the roles of the representative of
administrator which is the MoE as well as their representative which refers to the district
officer (PPD). They discussed about the top-down policy practiced in Malaysian
educational system and how diffusion of information works on the NESs, the local English
teachers as well as the district officer in each state. Further, they also mentioned about the
poor monitoring system that has been applied throughout the nationwide programme.
Based on the feedback gained from the interview process, a native speaker claimed that
there were problems arisen as a result of unorganised diffusion of information as he said:
I notice a few problems surfaced due to poor organisation where at the beginning
of the programme, they found it difficult to understand their roles in the
programmes as the information given was not clear and other people just want to
simply express their dissatisfaction and thoughts without knowing what we have
been through (personal communication, 27 Mei 2013).
The NNES teachers too claimed that they received no briefing and were not asked to attend
any courses before participating in the Native Speaker Programme. One of the NNES
teacher claimed that:
We were all in the dark. The government should have been well-prepared before
introducing another high-invested programme like this (personal communication,
27 April 2013).
387
In giving response to this issue, the District Officer articulated that the execution of the
Native Speaker Programme is good but there are still rooms for improvement especially on
the administrator’s part. She added:
They should have been more systematic whenever they introduce any new
programme to support any policy. As for example, the local English teachers
should have been given at least a course before participating in the Native
Speaker Programme so that they will get a general insight of what the programme
is all about (personal communication, 11 April 2013).
Should This Programme Be Continued?
Finally, the respondents discuss on the issue whether or not to continue the Native Speaker
Programme. They shared their own views based on what they have gone through and
reflect on their achievement as the outcome of participating in the programme. There were
a few respondents who agreed on continuing while there were a few who opposed the
suggestion. All respondents validate their views by reasoning it with multiple perspectives
which range from home-grown talents issues to the importance of the international standard
issue.
It is undeniable that the Native Speaker Programme did bring impact towards the NNES
teachers’ teaching quality where the improvement can be sensed and seen by certain those
involved. Some NNES teachers themselves admitted that the NESs provide them with
more exposure of English language as they have gained so much knowledge, levelled up
their skills and have a huge collection of resources from the native speakers. In some
aspects, the NESs have helped them a lot and inspired them in terms of having the source
of items from the websites as well as knowledge and skills on how to have a fun and
different activities in English class. This seems to fit the suitability of the Krashen’s input
hypothesis, the idea that language learners need maximum exposure to the target language
to progress in their knowledge of it (1985). Some local English teachers agreed that the
programme should be continued as they claimed that they have undergone some
improvement especially in terms of having variety in conducting language activities in
English lesson. They learn to have all range of activities, from simple and easy to exciting
and complex activities. Their improvement in enhancing pedagogical skills has given
impact to their students’ performance too especially in terms of participation in class. One
of them added:
I have gained so much knowledge, levelled up my skills and I have a huge
collection of resources from the native speakers. In some aspects, yes, I think they
have helped me a lot and inspired me in terms of having the source of items from
the websites as well as knowledge and skills on how to have a fun and different
activities in English class (personal communication, 17 Mei 2013)
Another teacher, on the other hand think that the government should have put the NESs
more in the teachers training college compared to primary schools so that we can nurture
the right teaching skills and motivate the teachers from the grass root level. The native
speakers can share their knowledge and skills in advance or make them involved in
388
teaching students in the classes. However, the local teachers added that the continuation of
the programme will only be achievable if all parties such as the community, MOE, parents,
teachers, school administrator, JPN and PPD give full support and work hand in hand.
While the NNES teachers have voiced multiple views towards the continuation of the
Native Speaker Programme, all NESs who were interviewed suggested a strong call to
continue the programme as they optimistically claimed:
I do think that world-class students can be produced if the programme is
continued. Continuation of monitoring and re-training, when needed are essential.
After the initial 3-year contract, it should be expanded to other primary schools
and then in 3 more years, the secondary teachers should receive training, as well
(personal communication, 12 Mei 2013).
Meanwhile, the District Officer perceived the MoE decision to terminate the Native
Speaker Programme by the end of September 2013 as something preventable as she
claimed that the impact of having the programme can’t actually just be seen in only threeyear time. She added:
This programme needs time. We cannot just see it in 3 years, probably we need like 6 years
so that we can have the desirable result. I’m not saying that there is no impact at all to the
schools involved but we need more time (personal communication, 12 April 2013)
The officer claimed that history has proven that our nation can improve even without the
help of the NESs as she recalled:
Previously we had had a couple of district language officers in our PPD, Mr
Charles and Dona. We had this discussion too of whether it should be continued
or not. After thinking of it over, we agreed that our local teachers’ expertise are
good enough so their service (native speakers) were terminated (personal
communication, 12 April 2013).
In essence, she added that according to the MOE, most Malaysian teachers have met the
international level, in terms of grammar, and vocabularies. In addition, Arva and Medgyes
(2000) suggested that as a result of leaning English explicitly, the NNES teachers are more
able to explain grammar, something that NESs are often thought not to be able to do. They
are expert enough, only that they need to improve the way they think, should be more
positive and have the courage to think out of the box and make changes and be more
creative in their teaching. To illustrate this point, the officer reported that:
…we can make do with our locals, as we have a lot of capable teachers, it’s just
only that they need training and guidance. Currently we also have SISC (School
Improvement Specialist Coach) where they go down to school to coach teachers in
terms of pedagogy. Those who are involved are the master teacher, experienced
teacher, excellent teacher (GC). We can actually run the programme using our
own people if we really want (personal communication, 12 Mei 2013).
389
A variety of new perspectives and connected theories emerged as the three group of people
shared their experience in participating in the nationwide programme. Despite the
resistance shown by some of the local English teachers, at certain points, the District
Officer and the native English speakers shows pessimism towards the role of NESs in the
programme although there were some problems rose along the way. It’s undeniable that
every language or educational programme would always be accompanied with conflicts or
issues, so does the Native Speaker Programme. There is no harm to continue executing the
Native Speaker Programme, as long as very parties involved give full support and play
their role evenly. In order for MoE to be successful in producing Malaysian teachers with
quality teaching profession through the Native Speaker Programme, they need strategies to
help them move forward. Namely, they have to revise the programme from the selection of
the NESs to its execution and monitoring system.
To further continue the Native Speaker programme, apart from the MoE’s part, the local
teachers might as well change their mind set and attitude to become more open and
optimistic towards the programme. When there is no choice offered since the participation
is unlikely to be optional, they should have taken this opportunity to make improvement on
their teaching techniques and strategies by accepting the NESs help and coach with arms
wide open. As claimed by the District Officer, they are expert enough, only that they need
to improve the way they think, should be more positive and have the courage to think out
of the box and make changes and be more creative in their teaching.
5.0
Conclusion
This study is carried out to ensure that Malaysian grass-root voices were heard as
it discusses some crucial issues in relation to hiring native speaker teacher trainers that is
claimed by certain group to have undermined the legitimacy and expertise of the homegrown talent. The purpose of this study, however, is not to attempt to discuss the flaw or
wrong policy-making made by the government of Malaysia, yet to a national view, its
intention is more to help others understand the roles of NESs in Native Speaker Programme
through the multiple perspectives of the three groups of people involved in the programme.
It is hoped that this study would provide positive and proactive support to the Ministry of
Education to ensure that this programme is fruitful and worth invested.
390
References
Anchimbe, Eric A. (2005): "Anglophonism and francophonism: the stakes of (official)
language identity in Cameroon". ALIZÉS: Revue Angliciste de la Réunion 25-26:7-26.
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28, 355-372.
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their own. TESOL Journal, 9(3), 19-23.
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Jusoh.I. (2015). Free Malaysia Today. English Native Speaker Programme a success.
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practices in the Asia-pacific region. TESOL Quarterly, 37(4), 589-613.
Tian, W. (2003, October 23, 2003). Xiao xueyingyukeqingbuqingwaijiao, zheshige wen ti
(It is a question of whether or not to have native English speakers teaching in primary
school). Retrieved on December 19,2006, from www.sina.com.cn/e/2003-1023/0321971234s.shtml
391
The Use of Translation as a Learning Method for the
German Language Students in University Putra Malaysia
Bong Tze Ying1, Ang Lay Hoon2, Nicole Ogasa3,
Hazlina Binti Abdul Halim4, Miroslava Majtanova5
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
3
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
4
University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
5
Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected]
Abstract
Based on the growing numbers of research studies, the use of translation in learning foreign
language has shown that this topic is getting more popular to the public and education
research group. The researchers have investigated a large number of methods that are being
employed in foreign language learning, but the method of translation has still been an issue
that creates lots of controversy. It is a challenging task for a non-native speaker to learn a
foreign language especially if the grammar of the students’ dominant language is different
from the foreign language. This study is primarily designed to understand the role of
translation for non-native speakers when learning German as a foreign language. The
objectives of this study are to ascertain the students’ beliefs about using translation in their
studies, and to find out the language learning skills of which translation strategy is widely
used. A total of 30 undergraduates studying German as a foreign language in University
Putra Malaysia have participated in this study. Data collection was made by using
questionnaire. With reference to the findings of the study, it can be concluded that the
majority believes that the use of translation is a helping strategy in the learning of the
German language. Although a small numbers of students preferred to learn German
language without using translation, they also agreed that translation did really help to
develop their learning strategy in a situation where they do not understand the lecturer use
German language to teach in class. Besides, the findings also showed the student used a
wide variety of learning strategies which involved translation in different learning skills.
The findings of this study can support to the schools and instructors in developing a better
German language learning program.
Keywords: foreign language learning, learning German, learning strategies, student’s
belief, translation
Biodata: Bong Tze Ying received her B.A. (Hons) in Foreign Language from University
Putra Malaysia, in 2012. She is currently furthering her university studies on German
language studies for an M.A. degree in Translation and Interpretation in University Putra
Malaysia.
392
1.0 Introduction
Although the use of translation is maligned by many language teachers in language
learning, many studies have been conducted in the field of using translation in learning a
foreign language. These studies also certified that this method is yet still in use in many
countries. Among all the research studies, several of studies have proven that the method of
translation is one of the effective ways for the students in learning foreign language.
Translation can be a great aid to foreign language learning, this is further supported by Ana
B. Fernandez-Guerra (2014), her paper has shown the result that majority of the students
incline to use translation of their mother tongue language when learning a foreign
language, and the students ranked the method of translation as the most motivating method
of learning. Investigated learning strategies employed by Iranian’s English learners’,
Zeinab Karimian and Mohammad Reza Talebinejad (2013) has established that translation
as a learning strategy in the process of learning English language. There are one hundred
and seventy participants in their research and the findings of the research studies has shown
that the highest level of percentage (about 54 percent) of participants agreed that translation
is a helping strategies in their new language learning. The participants mentioned that they
made use of their mother tongue language to benefit of mentally translation in their
learning process. Further, Corder (1981) also emphasizes that students’ mother tongue is a
useful resource for the learners to compensate their deficiencies in second language
learning. A similar perspective comes from Radmila Popovic (2001), he mentioned in his
paper that translation is a strong case for a language classroom to be made and it promotes
the students learning.
The use of translation is widely used in the students during their learning process.
Translation is extremely hard to avoid for a beginner to learn a foreign language because
the using of translation is very natural for a student during their learning progress. All these
research studies have shown that the issue of using translation in learning a foreign
language has always been a controversial topic. The challenging task for this present
research is to investigate whether the using of translation in learning German language is
giving advantage or disadvantage to the students. This research conducted to investigate
whether the method of translation can help the students in developing their learning
progress in German language as foreign language. German language deserves more
attention in this area of study. This study is primarily designed to find out the role of
translation for non-native speakers in learning German as a foreign language. The
objectives of this study are to ascertain the students’ beliefs about using translation in their
studies, and to find out the language learning skills of which translation strategy is widely
used. The data collected aims to answer the following questions:
i)
What are students’ beliefs in using translation to learn German language?
ii)
What are the translation strategies used by the students?
2.0 Methodology
The study was conducted in University Putra Malaysia. The participants were
undergraduates’ students who major in German Language as a foreign language for
Bachelor Degree programme at the Faculty of Languages and Communication as shown in
Table 1.
393
Table 1. The race of students who study German Language in University Putra Malaysia.
Race
Malay
Chinese
Indian
Others
Total
Number
10
19
1
0
30
Percentage
33.3%
63.3%
3.3%
0.0%
100.0%
In term of racial background, the respondents consist of two major ethnics which
are Chinese and Malay students. All the students took part in the quantitative survey and
the instrument used was a questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of three sections, the
Section A draw out the demographic characteristics of participants: gender, race, the daily
used language, the most frequent translation used in speaking and writing. All items in
Section B and C were rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Never) to 5 (Very
frequently). The aim of Section B was to find out the students’ beliefs on using the method
of translation in learning German language, while Section C was to answer how the
students used translation strategy in learning German language mainly from four language
skills, which are reading, writing, speaking and listening. Besides, how the students applied
translation in learning German grammar and vocabulary and general aspect of learning
were also investigated. The data from each question were analysed with statistical
calculations. This method revealed the students’ beliefs in using translation as their
learning strategies in learning German language.
3.0 Results and Discussion
This study presented the results of the study on the student’s perceptions and their beliefs
of using the method of translation in learning German language, and how they implanted
the use of translation in their learning of German language. The results from the
questionnaire were processed using statistical calculation.
Section A was on the students’ personal details. Among 30 students who
participated in this study, 23 students used English language as the translation language in
speaking and only 7 students used Chinese language as the translation language. Besides,
23 students also preferred to use English translation during the writing in German
language, while 6 students used Chinese language and 1 student used Malay language as
their translation language in writing German language. It is surprising to note that the
majority of students do not use their mother tongue to translate in the speaking and writing
of German language. Although 63.3% of the respondent were Chinese, Chinese language
was found not the major language used in translation strategy in this study. Most students
prefer to use English language as translation during their German language learning
progress instead. The same goes to Malay language. There are 33.3% of Malay students but
only 1 respondent translated from Malay language in learning German language. This
result has shown that the students preferred to use English language but not their mother
394
tongue in translation strategy. This is most probably due to the similarity between German
and English language in many words in terms of pronunciation and spelling.
Section B addressed the first objective of this study, that is, the students’ beliefs of
using translation in learning German language.
According to the data, majority of students had chosen Likert scale ranging from 3
(Less frequently) to 4 (Frequently) on the usage of translation in learning German
language. The students reported that translation helps them in understanding their teachers’
German instruction and it also helps them in learning German language in reading, writing,
speaking, and learning German grammar, idioms and phrases. Besides, the students also
emphasized that translation is useful in helping them to complete their German assignment.
Translation helps the students to interact with the classmates in German class to complete
their assignments and they depend on their preferable language in translation when the
German assignments were too difficult to understand. The gathered data showed mainly of
the students frequently agreed that translation can help them to finish the German
assignments more quickly and save time. In this study, the students used translation as a
useful strategy. The result showed that 10 students frequently and 4 students very
frequently felt that they cannot learn German without translation, they believed that
everyone has to use translation at this stage of learning.
Section C addressed the second objective of this study, to discover the strategies
use of translation by the students. This section is to elicit the use of translation in each
category, which focused on the use of translation in reading, writing, listening, speaking,
the frequency of translation strategy used in learning German language and the use of
translation in helping the student in learning German grammar and vocabulary.
The result showed how the student implanted the use of translation in their
learning progress of German language. The majority of students rated “Frequently” in
accepting their preferable language as a helping strategy in German language learning, they
practiced mentally to translate their thoughts from their preferable language to German
language in various situations. Most of the student verified a bilingual dictionary and an
electronic translation machine as an assisting tool when learning German language. When
the students having difficulties in reading or writing a German text, they refer to the
dictionary or any online translate tools, such as Google Translate, online dictionary and
others. Besides, the students also concurred that translation helps them to interact with the
lecturers and classmates in class. This is because if they do not understand the conversation
in German, they prefer ask other people translate into their preferable language for a better
understanding. The strategy involving translation in this situation can help to improve the
students’ listening and speaking skills. Besides, the Table 4 above also showed the results
of students used translation in helping them to learn German grammar, vocabulary, idioms
and phrases. German Language grammar is more complicated compare to English language
grammar as German is an inflected language, it means that most of the parts of speech
change according their function in the sentence. Therefore, the students prefer to use their
preferable language dialects translation of grammatical terms such as parts of speech,
tenses, and agreements to help them clarify the rules of the grammatical parts of German
sentences. In addition, learning and memorizing the German vocabulary, idioms and
395
phrases also require a lot of practice and effort. The students reported that translation is a
supporting tool in helping them to memorize the new words in German. For example, when
the students study the meaning of a new German vocabulary or idioms in their preferable
language, they can understand the words better and this also can help to memorizing the
words easier.
4.0 Conclusion
Contrary to previous finding which are not in favour of translation strategy in foreign
language learning, the results of this study showed that the UPM German Language
students believed translation is a supporting method and they make use of translation as
one of their learning strategy. This also showed that the benefits of using translation can
guide the students to improve their German language skills during their learning progress
in each language skills, such like, reading, writing, speaking and listening. According to the
results of this study, the positive feedback from students showed the correlation between
the students’ beliefs towards the use of translation and their strategy use is greatly related
to each other. To sum up, it is concluded that the students who participated in this study
majority believed that translation is a helping strategy in the learning of German language.
In other words, the use of translation as a learning method in foreign language should be
encourage and not to prohibited.
396
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397
They’re OK. It’s us that Scares us: A Critical Analysis of
Discourse of Resistance in Iran
Ehsan Dehghan1, Afida Mohd Ali2
1
Universiti Putra Malaysia, [email protected]
2
Universiti Putra Malaysia, a[email protected]
Abstract
Iran has historically had a unique position among other Middle Eastern countries. The
people-government gap in Iran is one of the deepest of its kind. Further, it is one of the few
countries in the world with laws of compulsory hijab for all women, Muslim or nonMuslim. In recent years, with the rise in popularity of social networking websites, such as
Facebook, Iranian women have found a new ground to voice their experiences, protest, and
resist against such laws. This study, employing Critical Discourse Analysis, is an attempt to
analyze the linguistic features, discursive strategies, and underlying ideologies of this
online resistance movement. The corpus under study consists of texts posted by Iranian
women on Facebook pages created for this cause, in which women post their experiences
with compulsory hijab and its enforcement in Iran in their native language, Persian/Farsi.
The Discourse-Historical Approach to Critical Discourse Analysis is the methodology of
choice for the present study. Two significant features reveal themselves from the analysis
of these texts; 1) that there is a strong dichotomization between Self/Us and Others/Them
in the given discourse, and 2)that in contrast to many other studies, Xenophobia is not a
feature of this discourse. In contrast, our findings point strikingly to Xenophilia, and what
we refer to Oikophobia, or fear of people from one’s own country/culture. On a theoretical
level, the findings also point to linguistic considerations researchers need to account for
when employing CDA studies on languages other than English.
Keywords: Online Activism, Critical Discourse Analysis, Discourse-Historical Approach,
New Media, Web 2.0
Biodata: Ehsan Dehghan is a student of Discourse Studies in the Faculty of Modern
Languages and Communication. His research interests revolve around discourse analysis,
social problems, New Media, and Critical Theory. Specifically, he is interested in
theorization of online activism, and the methodological, theoretical, and analytical issues
involved in this regard.
Afida Mohamad Ali (PhD) is a senior lecturer in the English Language Department,
Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her
research interests are mainly in the areas of LSP/ESP, corpus linguistics, and genre
analysis, specifically genres used in business, finance, health, tourism and the new media.
398
1 Introduction
1.1 New Media, Power and Resistance
Web 2.0, and its most vivid manifestation, or social networks, has had a huge impact on the
contemporary human’s lifestyle, experiences, and reality. This, in turn, has opened new
horizons, new questions, and new theories on the part of the academics and scholars. With
the rise and increasing popularity of Web 2.0, previous understandings of many aspects of
the human life, such as the public sphere, communication models, identity, and power
relations underwent significant changes. The academics faced issues previously not thought
of and theorized, and thus embarked upon a project of understanding, conceptualizing, and
theorizing these new dimensions.
One of the issues which has been historically a topic of interest for social
scientists, and which has undergone a great deal of change with the rise of Web 2.0, is
power, its relations within discourses and society, and naturally, its inevitable anti-thesis, or
resistance (Khosravinik, 2014). Theories of power have seen two major shifts since
becoming topics of interest for scholars. Traditionally, power was identified as a ‘thing’,
only possessed by the sovereign and the ruling class, which then flowed in a linear, topdown fashion towards the masses of people. In such a model, it was the ruling class who
solely enjoyed power, while the ordinary people did not have any share in power, its linear
flow, and its advantages (Tilly, 1991). This mode of thought, which was prevalent in
academic circles until early twentieth century, was challenged by post-modernist and poststructuralist thinkers, such as Foucault and Scott.
The previous models of conceptualizing power and its relations, such as Marxist
theorizations, which viewed power as a property of the dominant class, imposed on the
masses through ideological and also repressive means, were challenged due to their being
unable to explain the emergence of resistance movements and social change (Mitchell,
1990; Tilly, 1991). That is, the question which was left unanswered was that if people
internalize the power and ideologies of the ruling class, how is it that social change and
resistance can be witnessed?
Scott’s observations, for instance, showed that even in the most repressive states,
there is always some level of resistance by the citizens (Scott, 1987). However, he also
points to the fact that this resistance is often shown in ways which face minimal
confrontation by the state and the ruling class (Mitchell, 1990; Scott, 1987). In Scott’s
view, power is not something exclusively in the hands of the ideological elite. Rather, it is
something shared by both the dominant and the dominated groups. However, since the
dominant class has more power, and also the means of enforcing it, resistance is often
minimal and ineffective.
Foucault is in agreement with Scott in that they both view power as something
circulating in the society and used by both the elite and the ordinary masses of people.
However, in Foucault’s view, resistance is an inevitable part of the very existence of power
relations (Foucault, 1978). He viewed resistance as an offspring of power, causing it to
survive and circulate in the society. In such an understanding, which Foucault puts in his
famous quote, “where there is power, there is resistance” (Foucault, 1978 p.98), resistance
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is not a reflection of people’s agency, free will, or conscious efforts to overthrow power
and the powerful. In contrast, it is the creative discursive process of internalizing the power
relations, which in turn leads to the continuation of power relations within the society and
discourses (Bordo, 1999; Foucault, 1978; Kulynych, 1997; McLaren, 2002; Mills, 2003).
This second shift in understanding power, which resulted from Foucault’s indepth socio-historical studies of various discourses (Foucault, 1978, 1994, 1995), became
the widely accepted norm in social studies during the twentieth century. Foucault’s
example of a panopticon could effectively explain power relations in societies, and how
these relations are internalized by the people (Foucault, 1995; Kelsey & Bennett, 2014). In
this representation of power, the centralized sources of power are able to monitor
individuals in a society. The feeling of always being under surveillance consequently leads
people to become agents of surveillance themselves, monitoring themselves and each other,
even when the centralized guard tower is not observing them.
With the rise and popularity of Web 2.0 and social media, such a view was
challenged. As Kelsey and Bennett (2014) point out, power can no more be viewed in a
liner, top-down fashion. Moreover, the panoptic model of power relations does not function
anymore, since the features of Web 2.0 have enabled each and every individual to act as a
source of power, knowledge, and information. In this sense, every individual is now able to
monitor, observe, and challenge not only other individuals, but also the ruling class. In this
sense, the centralized aspect of power has diminished. Social media is no more an example
of ideological state apparatus, since it is not owned or controlled by the ruling class. In this
view, power relations are now synoptic and omnioptic, shared by all members of the online
public sphere (Kelsey & Bennett, 2014). This is the very feature of Web 2.0 which has
enabled people to form online activist movements, voice their dissent, and attempt to bring
about change in their societies. An instance of such movements in Iran is what motivated
the researcher to do the present study.
1.2
The Iranian Context: Compulsory Hijab
Iran is one of the few countries in the world with laws enforcing compulsory hijab for all
women, regardless of their religion. Such laws entered the legal system of Iran gradually
after the 1979 revolution (Hoodfar, 1993). At the moment, breaching the laws of hijab in
Iran is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, and/or exile. A special branch of the police
force, often referred to as the “morality police”, is dedicated to observing that such laws are
followed by the citizens.
However, in recent years, Iranian women have formed online communities and
public pages in social networking websites, such as Facebook, to protest these laws and
resist them. Although these pages have chosen different policies for their cause, their
general purpose is to give voice to Iranian women and show their dissent. One of these
pages, which has attracted widespread international attention, is called “The Stealthy
Freedoms”. In this page, Iranian women post their photos without hijab, along with a piece
of text, representing their views, ideas, manifestos, etc. Another page, “Women=Men”, is
set to point to the discriminatory practices against Iranian women in general. However, our
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analysis shows that the majority of posts on this page still focus on the issue of compulsory
hijab, rather than other instances of discrimination, such as child marriage, unequal wages,
inequality in inheritance, deprivation from certain jobs, etc. Still another page, “No to
Compulsory Hijab”, posts Iranian women’s narratives and memories of their negative
experiences regarding compulsory hijab laws, such as the confrontations, arrests, family
experiences, etc.
This phenomenon, which scholars often refer to as “online activism”, is nothing
new (Kahn & Kellner, 2004), yet in the Iranian context, it is one of the first instances of
such forms of activism. Although a number of studies have been done on various online
movements and causes, there is a dearth of studies regarding this specific movement. So
far, a majority of studies on online activism have focused on the Arab Uprisings and
nationalistic discourses. Interestingly, scholars seem to not have a consensus on the
efficacy of online activism in bringing about real social changes in people’s civic life
(Boyd, 2008). Therefore, this paper, which is part of a larger study on this movement in
Iran, is an attempt to add to the body of literature concerning the relatively new
phenomenon of online activism.
1.3
Critical Discourse Analysis and New Media
When a social problem is to be studied, one of the popular approaches is found to be
Critical Discourse Analysis (henceforth CDA). This approach, with its self-reported and
praised political agenda and stance, aims to unravel the underlying ideologies in a
discourse through an in-depth analysis of the language used in a given discourse
(Fairclough & Wodak, 1997; Fairclough, 2001, 2010; van Dijk, 1999; Wodak & Meyer,
2009). In CDA, language is viewed as a social practice, bearing with it a great deal of
ideological standpoints, thus enforcing, maintaining, and/or reproducing these ideologies.
Therefore, it is believed by critical discourse analysts that an in-depth study of the language
employed in a discourse can effectively reveal such ideologies, uncover the intra-discursive
contradictions, and lead the researcher towards coming to an understanding, critique, and
criticism of the discourse and its socio-political context. From this point, CDA scholars
attempt to bring about change to the social problems under investigation, by increasing
awareness of the public, and providing guidelines to change the status quo.
While there is a significant body of literature on various social problems,
specifically from a CDA perspective, it seems that a great number of such studies have
limited their scope to the traditional means of power relations, theories, and mass media
(KhosraviNik & Zia, 2014; Khosravinik, 2014; Unger, 2012). That is, one can find several
studies done on traditional and mainstream forms of mass media, such as newspapers,
television and radio programs, or on politicians’ speeches and interviews. However, not
enough studies have been done on the New Media, such as Facebook pages, Twitter, online
forums, etc. This becomes problematic in two ways: Firstly, as it was briefly pointed out,
the New Media has brought with it new forms of power relations and information flow
systems. These cannot be explained with the previous models and theories of power,
media, communication, and information flow. Secondly, the specific features of the New
Media, such as its ahistoricity (Unger, 2012), level of access, multimodality, as well as the
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huge amount of data created at any moment in time, call for newer methods, tools, and
approaches. Using the existing approaches to CDA or other qualitative methodologies
cannot satisfactorily explain the online public sphere (Mautner, 2005). The so-called Big
Data created as a result of Web 2.0, combined with its being user-centered, call for
approaches which are not problem-specific, but data-, user- and context- specific
(Androutsopoulos, 2008; Bruns & Burgess, 2012; Bruns & Stieglitz, 2012; Herring, 2004).
In this paper, we will point to some of these limitations, using an example of a
study done on an online activist movement.
1.4
Concept of Hijab
Before moving to the specifics of the study, it is important to take into account some
contextual and historical dimensions of the social problem under investigation. Since the
movement studied is created to resist the laws of compulsory hijab in Iran, it is worth
considering its central concept, hijab, and its various conceptualizations.
Within the context of Islam, hijab is seen as a practice to be followed by both men
and women (Al-Balagh, 2015). The guidelines of hijab, set by Islamic religious leaders
(fuqaha), are based on the Quran, the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Sunnah), and the
sayings of his successors (Hadith) (Mutahhari, 2015a). Although there is not a consensus
among Muslim scholars on the limits of hijab and its practice, and on what parts of the
body to be covered, the general agreement is that men should cover the area of the body
between their navels and thighs, while for women, it includes the area between the head
(except the face) and the feet (Mutahhari, 2015b). Hence, although hijab is a rule set for
both men and women, its inclusivity involves more parts of the female body than the male.
The rationale behind the covering of the body in Islam is of a preventative nature. In other
words, Muslims, believing in exclusivity of sexual desires and relations only for spouses,
cover their body from all other members of society, except for their legitimate spouses.
Therefore, hijab is clearly a central and important practice within Islamic cultures, having
interwoven links with the morality, safety, and productivity of an Islamic society. In an
Islamic understanding, the practice of hijab is not a limitation aimed at women (Othman,
2006; Terman, 2010). Rather, women can comfortably and easily enter the social domain,
set up careers, interact with others, and be active social members, all under the protection
provided by hijab.
In dire contrast with this view is located the Western conceptualization of hijab.
Since colonial times, the Western world has taken up a critical and opposing understanding
of hijab (El Guindi, 1999; Hoodfar, 1993; Mernissi, 1991). Viewing hijab from their own
contextual gaze, Western scholars and the public have seen hijab as an oppressive,
patriarchal, and limiting practice (Bilge, 2010). In such a view, Muslim women have been
forced to cover themselves up, to become objects of sexual desires of men in general and
their husbands specifically. The Western world, in other words, has viewed hijab as an
imposition, depriving women of their agency and identity. Two major modes of thought
have been most prevalent in the Western conceptualizations of hijab. One, referred to as the
‘submission frame of thought’ (Bilge, 2010), views hijab as a means of oppression, through
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which women have to submit their agency to their male counterparts, and are forced to
abide by the patriarchal rules set for them (Hassan, 1996; Mernissi, 1991; Poya, 1999). The
other, called ‘the resistance frame of thought’ (Bilge, 2010), views hijab as a means of
resistance to the Western values and hegemony, especially in the context of Muslim
immigrants to the Western world (Bedmar & Palma, 2010; Shirazi & Mishra, 2010). This
mode of thought has tried to explain why, even when in a liberal and free society, Muslim
women still continue to wear their hijab. The explanation provided was that again, under
patriarchal forces, women have become objects and means of showing resistance to
Western hegemony.
Having considered the Western views of hijab, it becomes clearer that the Western
scholars and feminists have often overlooked the contextual and socio-historical
significance of hijab in Muslim societies. Instead, this practice has been solely seen from
their own reductionist perspective (Bilge, 2010; El Saadawi, 1997; Mahmood, 2005). Such
interpretations of hijab do not consider the Muslim women’s reasons and motives for the
practice of hijab. Even in studies where Muslim women have been interviewed about the
issue, such as a study on American Muslim women (Alvi, Hoodfar, & McDonough, 2003),
the scholar seems to ignore the women’s reasons, and interpret them as a ‘false identity’.
1.5
New Media and Its Potentials
Studies done on the web in general, and specifically Web 2.0 and its role in bringing about
social change, seem to point to different, and in cases contrasting, views (Dahlgren, 2009;
Hindman, 2008; Reardon, 2013). On the one side of the spectrum are scholars who
optimistically view Web 2.0 as a very positive force towards democratization,
emancipation, and equality. These scholars often appeal to recent social movements, such
as the Arab Uprising, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the Iranian Green Revolution
as examples supporting their optimism (Cottle, 2011). On the other side of the spectrum,
however, are the scholars who skeptically and sometimes pessimistically approach the
same movements. They often point to the fact that although such movements have had a
prominent and bold manifestation in Web 2.0 public spheres, one should not mistake the
end-result with the first spark. In such a view, it is argued that journalists and optimistic
scholars have looked at the issue in a backward fashion (Boyd, 2008; McCafferty, 2011).
That is, it is argued